||Twenty years old|
||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. Her name is Dempsey Donna, but her call name is Donna, which means "lady" in Spanish and suits her.
Donna 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 ocassionally 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
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. Fortunally,
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.
Unfortunally, 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 beautiful little one in four months! I can't wait!
I apologize, I just can't stop talking about this horse.
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