Why Horses Wednesday

This week’s answer to “Why Horses?”: elderly gentlemen.

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This wonderful, small, old-fashioned Arabian spent his career showing up the big boys in endurance riding competition.   D.D. (Dashing Devil) is 32 in this photo, sound, fit, and in good health.  His owner was looking for a way for him to stay gently fit for light weekend riding.  We decided to try him as a pony horse for other elderly horses.  Sure, you can lunge an older horse, but continual 20M circles are awfully trying on aging joints.

We started with Pumpkin.  Pumpkin was trained to stop if the lead was dropped.  Instant problem resolution: drop the lead. D.D. had never ponied anyone, but he had been ponied on trails as a youngster.  He remembered, and figured out the change in positions in under ten minutes, and gave me a number of ponying stories I’m sure you’ll hear about.

Soon, I was tacking D.D. up every day, and we’d take one of the older horses out on a ‘trail’ ride, walking for 45 minutes, it kept his interest, his athleticism, and importantly, became a service to retired horses who were not moving enough on their own.  He relished his new job, and made sure the ponied horses knew he was The Boss.

For me, it became a daily meditation ritual.  He was a supremely easy ride: auto-pilot installed and active, but instantly aware of any request. Sane, not even remotely spooky, radiating calm and confidence.  He helped rehab a number of elderly horses who could no longer be ridden, and had become somewhat anxious out of their paddocks.

Anyone who insists all Arabians are spooky, unreliable, nut cases, should have had the opportunity to spend time with this Dashing gentleman.

He was retired from riding at 35.

What is your “Why Horses?” for today?

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6 thoughts on “Why Horses Wednesday

  1. Lisa

    I have a wonderful 27 year old pony named CoCo, who worked for us for many years as a school pony. Lots of people here learned to ride on little CoCo, who carried them faithfully around the arena. She never really did anything naughty – except sometimes. She was completely dependable unless another horse in the arena (or anywhere else she could see) would loose his rider – then she would loose her little rider too. She always sort of figured, ‘If he doesn’t have to have his, then I don’t have to have mine.” 🙂
    She’s still going strong and hangs out in the pasture with Udo and Lando, keeping them in line (Pinkies and the Brain). We even still sometimes go trail riding with her (generally as a ponied pony).

    Reply
  2. cara

    Janow’s neigh-bor Emmitt Kelley is 31 and still being ridden daily. Cherokee, the other-side neigh-bor is 27. Mr. D, three paddocks down, is 36. Janow turns 21 in January. It is Geezer Row.

    Reply
  3. Michelle

    Awww…..he’s still dashing, even at 32! I have a soft spot for the old folks, my sister still has her old show horse who is now 30 and I lost my mare’s dam a couple of years ago at 32. What a great way to keep him used and productive!

    Reply
    1. theliteraryhorse Post author

      I can think of four old horses I would bring home with me in a heartbeat. None of them rideable. All of them characters, and imminently lovable.

      If anyone is lucky enough to have a quiet older guy, ponying is a lovely way to keep everyone moving and all the joints lubricated. I ponied out of an english saddle. I only used a western when helping with babies. 😉

      So nice to hear about all the aging horses that people continue to care for and love.

      Reply

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