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He is chubby, fluffy, dappled gray and dirty, ornery and tough as nails.
He tests whoever leads him to and from the pasture, not occasionally, but every single day. No matter how many times you establish he is not pulling you down for a nibble of grass, he is going to try.
He’s the boss, he knows it and he’s not afraid to show it. He has lived at our farm for four years, and in that course has been ridden or driven less than twenty times.
OG is not old, he was estimated to be around 5 when we bought him. Now he is probably around 9. He is not happily living out a retirement after years of hard work. He has essentially been on a 4-year vacation, all expenses paid for. He is healthy and trained both under saddle and for driving, just a bit rusty at this point.
My mom rescued OG from a hoarding situation. A hearty 12 hand welsh cross that was stuffed in a stall with 3 other horses. We now know why he had most of the stall to himself. We have all seen them, all heard about them and some of us are guilty of owning them. The lawn ornament.
My mom often talks about her plans with OG, and with her retirement quickly approaching, those could come into fruition. But I’m not holding my breath, both horse and human seem completely satisfied with this existence and the way in which things are.
Many people say, “Sell them! DO something! A horse shouldn’t just stand around!”. While others defend their beautiful décor, “But she’s just so sweet, I love her! I couldn’t just let her go to anybody!”
I was one who used to nag my mother about working OG, leasing him or selling him. He’s a perfectly good pony, cute and job ready, why not put him to work?
We all wish we had more time to work with them, ride them, dote over them. But life is busy and sometimes all we end up doing is feeding them, cleaning up their poop and turning them out... or paying someone to do it for us.
But OG has taught me something and since doing so, my distressing about him having a job has subsided. Despite his attitude and constant testing, he is appreciative for his forever, loving home.
He gives a friendly nicker when we approach, he loves to nuzzle your cheek after dinner and is first to come investigate your presence in the pasture.
He knows he must mind his manners on the infrequent occasion that he is plucked from the pasture for a pony ride. Feet planted and unmoving as my 5-year-old niece brushes him and talks to him, he patiently waits for the tack to be placed on his broad back.
Once under saddle, being ponied along next to another horse he would usually beat the snot out of, he calmly carries her over the hayfields. My niece grins from ear to ear, her grammy beaming with joy.
We all know variables exist in the horse world, and an unfortunate reality is some horses are not just looking pretty in lawns.
While OG is well fed with fresh water always available, turned out for hours daily, feet and health maintained, and loved on every night, this is simply not always the case.
At the end of the day, applaud the owner who loves and cares for their unused but absolutely loved equine embellishment. Sure, the horse should have a job and be used more regularly.
Sure, it should or could have better manners that come naturally with weekly riding sessions. But they are serving a purpose, bringing that person great happiness and fulfilment.
Text & Images by Emily Schwartz