This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......

Monday, 14 September 2009


This is my lovely little Crystal who I somehow don't think will be going back at the end of her trial period, especially as I have already bought her a rug, a head collar and a crystal browband!

Crystal is a 13yo Welsh Section A, about 11.1 hands high. She used to be a leadrein showpony and the family I am buying her from bought her from a showing family for their 6yo son to join his older sisters riding. I've seen photos of him riding her when he first got her where they both look really happy. His sisters then decided to get her jumping and galloping with plenty of use of the stick. Crystal decided to retaliate by doing as little as she could get away with and refusing to budge if she got too fed up with them. The son then decided he didn't like riding after all so she is up for sale.

They are nice kids but all their ponies are nappy and unco-operative because of the amount of force and lack of appreciation they are shown. The ponies are all still very nice natured and kind to handle but don't like being ridden very much. Their mum doesn't like the way her children are "stick happy" but says it's the only way to get the ponies to move. She volunteered this information, by the way, I never said a word of critisism and thanked the children profusely for showing their ponies to me.

When they delivered Crystal I gave them a very quick display with Bella and Jack. They were quite literally open mouthed.

Crystal was very stubborn yesterday but I refuse to take a whip anywhere near her at the moment and am just using a combination of persistance combined with effusive praise and thanks for any effort she makes. She is already blossoming and I long reined her today on the roads and around the fields with very few unrequested stops. I don't have a bridle small enough yet but she is as light as a feather at the end of the reins attached to a headcollar and has beautiful manners. I also tried a quick lunge and she lunges perfectly, presumably not having done so since her showing career ended.

She is a bit snorty out in front of me on the road and I don't suppose she is used to being in the lead, but she has been perfect with the traffic. She is very tolerant of the dogs and poultry and has a lovely, friendly nature.

I text the mother of the children for whom I am really buying Crystal, for them to ride, in partial return for all that their father has done for me and all of his time that I have taken up, and told her that I think she is probably just as much for me as for anyone else. I'm really smitten with her and she is just a pleasure to be with. She is the pony I always wanted as a child and was never allowed to have!

The only thing that worries me about her is the size of her stomach. I did wonder if I should have her pregnancy tested but I don't think I could send her back now anyway!

Here she is:


  1. What a cute girl! No wonder you are smitten with her.

    I am sure your kind, positive handling will bring her around in no time at all. What lucky children to have you find such a special pony for them.

  2. Hehe, you are going to be collecting ponies! She looks lovely. See what happens with her tummy

  3. She is an adorable thing - I think kind and gentle handling will bring her around in short order. Many ponies, I think, hate children for good reason - my Norman was always that way.

  4. Oh gorgeous Poney! She is really cute!
    Her belly could be :
    1/ worms : Perhaps it would be good to do a worm count of her feces too, and to worm her.
    I do not know your ideas about worming ect ...
    Here in Iatly poo-picking does not exist, so our horses follow a strict worming regiment (every 3-4 months with different types of wormers etc...).

    2/ no abdos : she was not worked properly, did not work collected etc ...

    3/ too much grass/haylage. We call that type of belly hay-belly! Usually seen on happy hacking horses ...

    She is really cute, and with as light as feather weight you can ride her too!

  5. She is very cute, Helen!
    What a fun project. I am sure that you will turn around the pony without problems. Small ponies left alone with small children often equals problems.
    I wouldn't worry too much about the belly. WM are good-doers, and the ones my daughter's friends has had have looked the same. A bit of a diet probably does no harm, and reduces the risk for laminitis too.

  6. Oh she is lovely Helen!

    Looks like a typical small pony belly to me, I wouldn't worry about it.

    I'm sure you'll have her happy and willing in no time - will you be teaching the children to clicker train her too?

  7. Thank you all very much everyone.

    She's definately on a diet and my horse family is definately now complete!!!!! She is very gentle with children still and seems to bear them no grudge. I think she knew they didn't mean her any harm and was just annoyed with them for wanting so much all of the time and giving so little back.

    I will encourage the children to clicker train her when they're a bit older and more used to being around her.