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Pet of the Day
Today's Pet of the Day
Dempsey Donna, the Pet of the Day
Name: Dempsey Donna
Age: Twenty years old
Gender: Female
Kind: Welsh Pony
Home: Drenthe, The Netherlands
   My 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 funny character.

    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.

Dempsey Donna, the Pet of the Day
Dempsey Donna, the Pet of the Day

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