As I recently browsed the Nebraska/Iowa Horses For Sale pages on Facebook, I kept seeing a lot of ponies. So I mentioned to my husband that we should get a pony while the kids are still little. He said, “No horses. But I might consider a pony for the kids.” Well, you know….that was a big ol’ green light in my book, so away I went shopping. A few Facebook messages later, and it was all arranged. We were planning a trip westward on the weekend before the Fourth of July, taking our horse trailer out to pick up our buckskin gelding, Cletus, who has been at the trainer’s in South Dakota again this summer. I found a pony for sale in northeastern Nebraska, and we stopped to look at her on our way back home. My husband was reluctant, especially when he found out it would tag on another two hours to our trip. He said to the kids, “Don’t get your hopes up. If this pony isn’t perfect, we’re not buying it!”
She was. And we did. She was beautiful, black, bigger than I had thought from seeing the one picture on the sale ad. She was owned by a young farm kid who had quite a few horses at his place, so I’m guessing he is kind of a trainer/trader of sorts. But young enough to still seem honest about what he was selling. He said she is fast, he wouldn’t put a little kid on her alone, but that she has been used in shows and play days, and has a nice attitude for a pony. She is twelve years old and 13 hands tall. He rode her first, in an indoor arena. Then I rode her. She wanted to move out in a little jog, and when I asked her with a neck rein cue to turn, she about turned out from under me, she was that quick. So then our ten year old daughter rode her. I cautioned her beforehand that the pony is fast, but when Madie got on her she just walked. It’s like she could sense it was a child, and she should be careful. The little boys rode then, while I led her around, and it was agreed: she was perfect.
She came home in the back of the trailer, bonding with Cletus on the way home (she is still more attached to him than the other horses). She spent the first night in her own corral, meeting her new buddies over a safe fence. The next day was Monday, July 4th, and we had planned a big picnic out at the farm to spend time with my husband’s folks and his two brothers’ families, and to celebrate our nephew’s birthday. So after a picnic lunch, we brought out the pony.
She was really hyper at first. I could hardly saddle her, she was twisting around and dumping the saddle in a heap before I could get it cinched up. When I finally got her saddled, she would let the kids ride her, but as I led her around she was pushy, wanting to go too fast, and being kind of ornery, wanting to go back to the other horses. My husband, already feeling buyer’s remorse, was not very happy with me. So after a couple of kid rides, I switched saddles on her and took her for a ride. We went down through the field, on a two-track road, at a good trot. When we got to the timber where a wide grassy trail led down to the river, I asked her to canter. And she did beautifully! It was so fun. I thought to myself, “Well, here I’ve gone and bought another horse for me, instead of the kids!” I loped her back part way and then made her walk back up to the barnyard.
So then my husband had gotten Cletus saddled and his brother James was riding him. So I gave the pony to my husband to lead kids on, and I went and got old Cricket to saddle up for the little kids to ride. We led horses around all afternoon, and before very long, the pony had settled right down and was behaving just fine. The older kids could ride her by themselves, learning to neck rein her and ask her to stop when they wanted. She obeyed pretty well, and was not shy or wanting to run off when we would walk over to catch her again to change riders or put another kid up into the saddle. After awhile, even the adults asked to ride her, because she was so fun. She revved up a little when a grown up got on, as if she sensed there was a job to do and she should get down to business. But for the kids, she was slow and gentle.
The kids had been tossing around names for her. Star…Midnight…Blackie….after her little shenanigans, I told Cowboy Dad we should call her Trixie. Because she knew every trick in the book. He said he liked that name just fine, and so it stuck.
We really had a lovely Fourth of July, horseback riding and letting the kids play at the farm. The next day we went out and rode again, and she was more slow this time and easier to handle. I think she had settled in to her surroundings and being with the other horses, and feeling more at home at our place. So then a few days later, we took her and the other horses down to a summer pasture a few miles from home, where there’s enough grass for them to eat pretty well for a month or so.
I hauled water to them a few days later, and found Trixie with her front foot held out in front of her, lame. At first glance, I didn’t think it was too bad, because there wasn’t a cut, it just looked like her front foot had been caught in smooth wire and it looked like more of a rope burn type of injury, where the wire had sort of wrapped and bruised, not sliced. Anyway, I went and got the trailer and took her to the vet. He said she had injured her tendon, as there was yellow liquid draining from the pastern area, but the cannon bone area was all swollen. He said it can be really hard to heal, and gave her shots of Banamine, tetanus vaccine, and penicillin. He said to soak it twice a day in Epsom salts and then put some chlorahexadine ointment in a baby diaper and wrap it all up with vet wrap.
My husband and I went back to check the pasture, to see what in the world had happened. We had checked fences carefully, before putting the horses in that pasture, and thought everything was neat and tight, with an electric wire on the inside of all the older, barbed wire fencing. But there was a pond that the pasture owner had done some work by, and when he put a new drainage system in place, he cut some of the fencing. We thought we had picked it all up, and had set several new posts to secure the wire to, but we might have missed seeing some loose wires when the grass was waist-high. After Trixie got cut, we found two strands pulled inward, plainly showing how she got tangled and injured. So we cut them and rolled them up and secured the rest of the fencing so the other horses don’t get hurt. Barbed wire fencing can be fatal for horses!
So poor Trixie is in the stall at the farm, all by herself. I can’t believe we have only owned her a week and a half, and this happened. But I’m doctoring her carefully and she seems to be standing a little better today, putting more weight on it, and the swelling has gone down considerably. I give her a little Bute each day, plus a powdered antibiotic in her grain, and she is supposed to go back to the vet tomorrow for a checkup.
We are really in love with this little pony. She was such a champ at the vet, with dogs barking all around, and trucks going right by, and not another horse in sight, she stood still and let them soak her foot and bandage her up, and didn’t whinny once. She is the same way at the farm, she seems completely content, lets me fly spray her, doctor her, clean the stall, soak her foot, and never once acts impatient or looking for other horse company! I am so glad we bought her, but so worried that she might not be sound for riding again, if this doesn’t heal right. We can only hope she’ll be prancing around again in a month or so!