||Twenty years old|
||Drenthe, The Netherlands|
own Trakehner gelding had cancer and was treated for that in 2007. Even
though he was healing, I found I could not ride him anymore. He was a 16.2
hands tall, strong horse and I never had a horse any smaller. So when my
parents first told me they found a potential pony that I could ride while my
older horse was retired, the first thing I said was "no". Because I wasn't
used to ponies, and I couldn't imagine myself riding one every day.
When I first saw her, however, I knew the first second that she was exactly
what I wanted. She was a former broodmare, so she had this big baby belly
that looked totally out of place, and a huge scar on her right shoulder. Her
owners told me she had caused it by pushing through a gate that was too small.
Dempsey Donna, called Donna for short, was very nervous that day, and it was
obvious she hadn't been in human hands for a long time. But her eyes stood
intelligent and they let her loose in the biggest arena there was. No one
forced her to run, but she did anyway, rearing, bucking and making sliding
stops out of nowhere. The first thing she did after that little work-out was
calmly walking up to me and rubbing her head against me with such force I
almost fell to my butt. I had been all smiles throughout the meeting and my
parents didn't even need an answer.
A week later, she finally arrived and it would soon be revealed Donna didn't
like strangers. Actually, no one but me could touch her. It was only after a
year that she allowed my mom to pet her slowly, while she has seen my mom
every day. It's not fear. She's honestly just very selective of who she does
or doesn't like. And Donna knows what she wants!
Not everything was going well. She was limping occasionally and her tendons
weren't that strong. She would never be the jumper I hoped she would be, but
that was alright. I didn't want to buy another horse for jumping either. When
you have those two horses that you know belong there, you don't need someone
else, and Donna and my retired horse did fine for me!
In 2010 she had been running again. Donna is, for your information, a very
fast and hyper pony. It was slippery. There was a car in the pasture, with a
trailer, to bring a yearling. All of us tried to calm her down, but being
Donna, she started playing games with us. This resulted in her making a
somersault and ended up banging against the trailer. Fortunately, she was OK,
except for her right front leg being injured, but the vet said it would heal.
We didn't ride for a year after that. I could only take her out on walks, so
I often took both my horses by hand and walked miles into the forest. This
was, honestly, very tiring, having two horses pull on your arms, but it was
fun nonetheless and I feel like a lot of groundwork has strengthened my bond
with the both of them.
Unfortunately, when I started riding again, there was bad news for my other
horse. He had not only suffered cancer, but he was now again ill with
Cushing's disease and it was slowly eating him. Donna was very fond of him,
but he changed into a grumpy old horse to the rest of the group. Eventually
he became stiff and had trouble walking. This was when I decided it was
enough. His story ended there, and I believe I gave him seven good years after
being dumped by his old owner. He was euthanized in October. All the horses
in our herd seemed to understand - one by one they would come by and nose
with him, then left again to be looking at us in the distance. Donna and
another horse took longest. I feel like she respected the old man a lot. He
was a wise horse.
After that, I didn't feel like riding for a long time. This effected Donna
too, because she always liked going out riding - alone in nature. She would
stalk me every time. I think she never understood that I just stopped riding
her all of a sudden. In summer I visited a western riding show to take
pictures and I realized I really missed riding. But English riding just
wasn't my thing anymore. I bought western tack and asked my grandfather, who
used to have Paints and Quarters, for help. We have been working very hard to
change from English to western, and so far, she loves it.
I think Donna is very special because she has been through a lot, especially
with her former owners - she was sold often, usually because of her weak leg.
It has also become clear she had a lot of accidents and one of her owners was
really aggressive while riding. Even though she has very bad memories, she
always kept being happy and grateful. Everyone likes Donna, even if they
can't touch her.
And even if I have let her down, especially after my older horse died, she
was always there for me. There was never a moment she lost hope. And more
importantly, she lifts up my spirits any time with her big brown eyes and
Now she is in foal to APHA stud Oreos Red Baron and we are expecting a
beautiful little one in four months! Can't wait! I just love talking about this horse.
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