For my 11th birthday I was given a dog, I hadn’t asked for a dog, I had asked for a pony!
A pony had been on every Birthday and Christmas list for as long as I could remember, so I wasn’t expected one and was delighted with a dog. So a young crossbreed from Birmingham dogs home entered my life and over the years the family pack grew and included a stray who had been knocked down by a car and had broken his leg, a stray collie who we never found the owner for and a German Shepherd who had been left in a shed with her puppies. The thing they had in common is they were all rescues. Since then my life has always been populated with dogs and all have been rescues, now I have greyhounds and lurchers and take part in fundraising for rescue charities. It wouldn’t even enter my head to get a dog from anywhere else than a rescue centre.
So did I apply that to ponies? No it didn’t. I had some ideal that one day I would be able to afford that competition horse, the one that would carry me to glory, a perfect willing equine partner. Because that was want happened in the books and movies right?
That one day came, I selected my very well bred youngster, with international showjumping bloodlines and a sire who was a top eventer. It never occurred to me that she might have a different agenda, and it certainly didn’t include jumping. It took a long time for me to learn this and it wasn’t an easy process by a long shot, but somewhere along the way I realised that horses are not there to be used for our own ends. And however much we kid ourselves, unless that horse we are riding has 100% given their permission then we are just using them for our own ends.
The relationship became paramount and anything else was secondary. I learnt to spend time with her, to share space, to simply be and I was the richer for it.
So when it came time to increase my little herd, it was a rescue I turned to. I did not choose my next pony for my needs but on what I thought would be the best companion for my horse and who she would be able to live harmoniously with. My rescue pony has turned out to be a absolute delight, great fun and an inspiration.
There are thousands of equines in rescue centres and welfare organisations up and down the country and across the world who would love the chance of a loving home. I salute those people who have already given them homes and who know their value as equine partners. I will never buy another horse, but will always have room for a rescue.