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your next minefield | children and ponies

I’ve loved horses since the minute I sat on one. My sister sat on one on the same day and didn’t get the vibe. I had lessons, often working (yes, as an 8yr old in the 80s, you could work) leading other children around all day just to get the last ride for free. I’ve had my own pony. I’m writing this looking out of the window at two ponies in our field and 14 more in the field next to them. Horses are my thing.

However, it’s one step I’m not taking with either of my children, for now. I can’t describe to you how big a commitment it is, as a parent. Like all sports, it’s time and money and a lot of sitting around in cold places waiting for lessons and competitions to be over. Equestrianism has an extra edge though – as a parent, you will, one hundred percent, end up doing the dirty work. And then there’s the half-tonne creature you’re responsible for as well.

So far, horsey antics here have been sporadic. I fostered some ponies from Horseworld last year which was, all in all, a sad experience. They escaped one too many times and we ended up having to give them back, more for their own safety than my lack of love for them. I miss them greatly and it’s one of my biggest regrets that it didn’t work.

This summer, we’ve had some lovely rides on our tenant pony, Little Miss, who is brilliant. We’ve been to feed the ponies carrots at least once a week at the bottom of the garden, and my son, in particular, is wild about doing this. If we go to a show, we spend the most time watching the horse classes. Horsey was one of his first words, and very sadly, one of his first questions was ‘where’s Big Miss?’ after she had to be put to sleep earlier this Autumn.

We also do a lot of drawing of horses, a lot of converting sticks into hobbyhorses, and have a lot of books featuring horses. Maybe I am kidding myself here – the more I write, the more it seems that horses are ALL our things! Aside from my husband – see below for world’s most awks man with horse picture.

Owning horses is an expensive business and we’ve had to structure our insurance for our house, and land around the equine use of it. Petplan Equine Horse Insurance is solid. Petplan has a special place in my heart after offering to convert one of Tibbs’ pictures of her dream horse into a toy one. It is incredible. We all love him, although he is currently just known as ‘white horsey’.

I could talk all day about kids and horses, the wild highs and the freedom, the lows of mucking out at 6am before doing the school run, and the heart in mouth of watching your tiny child bobble around on a pony without you to catch her. Give me a shout if you want to talk about it.

This post has been possible thanks to Petplan, but all thoughts are my own.


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