(Advisories: Certain language at the end of this post might be objectionable to some readers.
This is a true story; the names have been omitted to protect the guilty.
Other than photos the owner herself texted me, I have used clipart photos to represent her ponies out of respect to her website.)
A year ago when I started thinking about a pony for the grandkids, I found a website that makes claims about "matching the right horse to the right rider." Recently I perused the website again and corresponded with the owner about the three ponies listed for sale. It sounded like all three would be perfect! I told her our granddaughter is three and cautious about our horses, so we want a very gentle, calm pony. She said she would recommend one of her two bigger ones, both 13 hands (52" at the withers). We set up an appointment for two days later, last Friday.
As we pulled in, Kara wanted to turn around and leave. But after four hours in the car, I needed a break, so we decided to give it a fair chance.
The owner asked me to remind her what we were looking for: " A calm, gentle pony for a three year old," I said. "We'll be leading her for now, but want the grandkids to be able to ride when they're older." When I asked about the bay pony on the website (clipart stand-in at left), I was told she had been sold. It turned out there was already a deposit on her when we were exchanging emails about her! So now we were down to one possible pony.
Finally another woman went to get the Halflinger pony (clipart stand-in above) for us to look at. When we tried to walk up to her, the pony pinned her ears back and swung her rump toward us. It took quite a bit of maneuvering to get to her head without her rump coming between us, but we finally made it. In all the ten minutes we petted her, she never unpinned her ears nor stopped trying to push us around, even after I poked her in the flank and told her to "get over." (I think that's when the owner realized we knew what we were doing!)
At that point, Kara and I both tried to explain to the owner that we wanted a calm, gentle pony that our grandkids could safely be around. We said neither of these ponies were calm enough.
This picture, by the way, is another one the owner texted me after we left. I really don't think she heard us at all!
As we were getting ready to leave, the man with the Arabian arrived. The owner urged us to take a look at it. She'd never laid eyes on it, she told us, but she was sure it would be perfect. (If she was such a good prophet, you would think she would have foreseen us leaving empty-handed!) A dirty, ewe-necked horse came off the trailer. The owner knotted his lead rope into makeshift reins and got a boost onto his back, with the horse shifting around the whole time. She pranced him up and down her drive while we tried to tell her that an Arabian was not safe for a three-year old! She insisted that it was a great horse as she flapped her arms and legs. "See? It's kid-safe!" she exclaimed, as the horse hopped around, unable to do much because she had its head cranked back so hard it would have drowned if it had started to rain!
She hopped down off the Arabian and headed over to the people who wanted to ride a pony. I think she'd finally seen the handwriting on the wall! Out of politeness, I went over to tell her we were leaving. Neither Kara nor I could wait to get out of there!
I have a couple new slogans to suggest for this website: "Do you want the perfect horse or pony? We will sell you something--anything!" "We specialize in matching the right horse to the right sucker!"
Or as a friend not too delicately--but very accurately--put it, "They should change their name to 'Foreplay' because they sure tried to screw you!"
Needless to say, we're still looking for a pony. It's surprising how hard it is to find a good, safe pony! We still have hopes though, so stay tuned for "A Pony Tale, Part II" . . .