I have always had an interest in animals, probably due to both of my Grandfathers having been brought up on small holdings on or near the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.
I had my first Welsh Mountain pony “on approval” from an uncle when I was 8 years old, not long after I’d had my appendix removed.
Prince was a 2 year old stallion, and like all adolescents had a roaring appetite for food. When feeding him some titbits, he bit me in the abdomen – when I lifted my shirt, it looked like I had two appendix scars, side by side. I have an old photograph (c. 1959) of me with full Roy Rodgers kit, astride Prince, in my grandmothers garden. Alas, being a youngster, unused to traffic, he spooked whilst being led, threw me into the road and ran off. My grandfather was taken by surprise, but was more concerned about my cuts and bruises, than the pony (being a granddad myself, I get it now). I think that was the last I saw of Prince, who was returned to my uncle.
About 3 years later, another pony arrived late summer, this time a filly named Flossy. Probably a bit younger than Prince was, but the idea was not to attempt a ride for at least 6 months or more. By late spring me and my cousin decided to break her in slowly, she was about 12.2hh, so slightly taller than Prince. Over the space of a few weeks, I counted 37 consecutive involuntary dismounts. There were many more but the frequency got less and less – sometimes the saddle would slip, sometimes she’d turn 90 degrees and I’d go straight on. I found a martingale very useful in those early days to help with those sudden bursts of acceleration when something startled her. After a year or two and with a pony of his own, my cousin and I would charge at each other with yard brooms and the ponies would not bat an eyelid – the ponies would just stand, wait to be remounted, then the jousting would restart.
We did have 4 cows at one point, so Flossy got to round them up a few times – though rattling a bucket of concentrate pellets was an even quicker way to get them under cover, when required.
I always wanted to rear palominos, thinking they were a breed apart, but soon found out that genetics played more of a role than parentage. I guess Roy Rogers, or more especially Trigger, had more of an influence on me than I’d realised.
When I was a young ‘un, Trigger was the most famous horse in the world, star of Film, TV and Stage. He was a Palomino stallion, and so famous that he even had “stunt doubles” in case he was required to do something risky. He was too valuable to risk being injured. After his death in 1965, Roy Rogers had his hide preserved and mounted in a classic pose, so Trigger continued to be the star of the Roy Rogers museum. In 2010, Roy’s memorabilia were auctioned off, even then some 45 years after his death, Trigger was sold for $266,000.
My career it IT took priority after college, then came the family. We bought a smallholding in 1991, and over the next 29 years raised cows, sheep, goats, pigs, ducks and chickens – all rare breeds. We did have a few horses around the place, but they were boarders, and helped cover the overheads. The thing about rare breeds is, they do not make money – if they did, they would not be rare!
I hope this site is of interest to you. I have included some rare and popular breeds (not so many as to make it a chore to plough through them (that’s a pun)). I particularly like Irish Bog pony story.
My daughters loved horses since before she could talk and as she got older it just never left her so so we made the decision several years back to get her one and that was it…
That first pony was a Shetland (originated in Scotland) named Alexia. She has such a pretty chestnut coat that dazzle in the sun and built up such a bond with my dd that that was that. She’s still a part of the family, but over the last few years, we’ve welcomed an Arabian and a morgan horse so that my daughter and I can go riding together.
And it inspired me to share my experience and thoughts in upkeeping horses with different breeds and personalities by creating Horsyland. We aim to help horse owners, especially the first-timers, make wise decisions in purchasing ponies and horses alike. We also had to learn from our mistakes so hopefully we can help you avoid a few common ones with horse riding.
We also aim to share knowledge about horse breeds and educate kids and families alike about the beauty of horses. We had a bunch of helpful guides and training here in Horsyland, and more to come, so we hope that you’d enjoy learning the world of horses.