One I Did Not Pick Out
Gray come to our farm when I was away doing my short stint at Salem International University in West Virginia. We had a need for another lesson horse( or pony ) and so my mom and our former instructor went on a lesson horse search and found Gray.
Where Did He Come From?
I can’t remember the details since I wasn’t there, but I believe that he came from either a summer camp or a lesson program that was selling horses over the winter. Don’t quote me on that, I could be wrong.
What Did He Look Like?
To put it nicely, he was funny looking. He was not any certain breed. He had a dishy head like an Arab, his neck was built with all the muscle underneath instead of on top, Gray always carried his head really high, which explains the muscling. Gray did not have a swayback, though it is kind of amazing he didn’t, because he has an enormous belly. A belly that no matter how busy he was in the program, never went away. Unlike his dishy head, his legs and feet did not look fine-boned at all. His legs were heavy-boned and he had huge tough feet. Almost like a draft horse.
The old man looked like he was made of a bunch of mixed-up body parts. He had a very thin mane and tail and was a flea-bitten gray. To many of our students, they just thought he was beautiful because he was “white”. He was a large pony in height.
Gray had a huge stride, something that you would not expect from looking at the way he was built. Teaching kids to post on him was funny because it almost looked like they bounced up and had hang time before they came back down to the saddle. Then his back would launch him up again!
His canter was smooth. Though he had a tendency to cross canter if he was being ridden by someone who couldn’t keep him straight or didn’t know-how.
All lesson horses have their little tricks. Gray’s favorite was to slow down, in a real sneaky way root the reins from the kid’s hands and snatch grass. Until they got wise to it, he did send a few students down his neck like a sliding board! It was hard not to laugh.
Gray was a sweet pony. He had a kind look to his eye. The sort of horse that draws you in with those big liquid eyes. Not to mention it was hard to resist him since he was so ugly he was cute!
Gray Jumped Out Of A Stall Once!
I cannot remember why we had put him in a different stall. So he was alone instead of in the big barn in his regular stall with the other horses.
He was calling and obviously not happy there but we were thinking he would calm down and eat his hay after a few minutes. We were very wrong! If we hadn’t seen it with our own eyes we never would have believed that our odd-shaped little Gray could make it up and through a stall window. Luckily, no one was hurt and he was easily caught, he ran right back to the barn where his friends were. Then he was cool as a cucumber!
My Most Vivid A.K.A Painful Memory Of Gray
We were tacking up a riding lesson group at summer camp. Gray was notorious for puffing up when getting tacked. The student assigned to him was having a hard time getting the girth up to the next hole.
I was on the other side of Gray so I reached over and lifted up the saddle flap out of the student’s way. Hoping that would maybe make it easier for them to get it that one whole tighter. Big mistake!
Before I had time to know what happened Gray had reached around and bit me, really hard on the ribcage. It literally took the wind out of me it hurt so bad. I ended up with a bruise taking up one whole side of my body, it was ugly! The bite only broke the skin in one small spot and it healed pretty quickly.
I remember my mom saying “thank goodness he did that to you and not the student”. As much as I was appalled by this, I did understand what she meant. She doesn’t have to worry about getting sued by her own kid. Not to mention a bite like that would have probably ended a student’s enthusiastic horse craziness very quickly.
I held a grudge for a short while against Gray for that bite. Not for long though, Gray’s cute, ugliness made it pretty easy to forgive him. Especially once the bruise was gone!
What Happened To Gray?
We owned Gray for a few years. He developed heaves, badly. The medication we were using didn’t seem to help him. The vet suggested he would be better living outdoors rather than in the stall. At the time we did not have run in’s in our fields, so being out 24/7 would not work here.
Luckily, one of our barn friend’s sisters was looking for a horse. Nothing fancy, just something to trail ride on. Best of all he would be living out in a run-in just like the vet suggested. So we found the perfect home for our goofy Gray.
We always heard that his new owner was enjoying him and his heaves was barely an issue. All is well that ends well. Even though we didn’t own Gray forever as I would have liked. He found a wonderful home and I’m grateful for the time I got to have him in our program!
Can’t Find Any Pictures
It has been so long since we have owned Gray, despite my compulsive horse picture hoarding, I can’t find any photos of Gray. When and if I come across any, I will add them to this post. For now, just use your imagination!