Not really. They’re quite sweet, really. But, there aren’t many things more expensive and time consuming than a horse-crazy kid.
When The Girl was about six, she developed a consuming passion for riding. So off she went to riding lessons – conducted on this poor old sweetheart reputed to be rising forty – and learned to trot around under the eye of a watchful old harridan.
So far so good. Until she decided she wanted her own. A lady friend of my then boyfriend (and if you knew my ex boyfriend, you’d know that ‘lady friend’ is a euphemism for, at best, ‘woman desperate to get into his pants by any means necessary’) lent us this Shetland called Mercury. He was cute. He was stubborn. He wouldn’t participate in rides for love or money, but did manage to overeat himself into a bad case of laminitis.
So my boyfriend’s lady friend, justly furious, ended the arrangement and we decided to stump up for a Pony of Our Very Own. At this point, I know nothing about ponies, except that given half a chance they’ll eat themselves into hospital. We bought the pony, a gorgeous little dappled white thing we called Clipsie, and settled down to anticipate years of happy horse ownership.
It wasn’t to be. A week later, we found that Clipsie was nearly blind and therefore unrideable.
I demanded a refund and got it. Clipsie’s ex-owner arranged for collection of the product – but little did I know, it wasn’t a return to the green fields of home, but a one way trip to the dog food factory. When I found out, we sent the knacker away empty handed and we kept our little white pony. We’ve still got her, ensconced with her best mate Patch (ex-neglected rescue horse) in a happy-ever-after agistment near home.
But now – my girl had no rideable horse. So – mum’s bank being obviously inexhaustible – we bought another one. Pablo was no disabled pushover – he was a beautiful, good-natured, clever and thoroughly wilful beast who showed us who’s boss as soon as he got off his float.
Take Pablo for a walk on his lead rope? Sure – if you want to be nursing rope burn for a week while he canters off to do something more interesting. Saddle Pablo up for a ride? Maybe – unless he bucks his saddle off and gives it a kick for good measure. What about a nice trail ride with friends? Ok – but don’t get too cocky. You might just find yourself on your back while Pablo smugly enjoys an unscheduled meal break nearby. Don’t take it personally – it’s not you he doesn’t like, it’s being made to do Stuff.
Which is all to say – horses are not my thing. Pablo was sold to a girl who had him too tired doing jumps to charge around farting his arse off (as was his wont). The Girl is now more interested in riding surfboards than horses. We still have our little Clipsie. I cherish my two dogs and a cat – confident that if they get pissed off with me, at least they don’t weigh half a ton.
Diablo is the story of Pablo – fictionalised, adapted and changed around a fair bit – but basically about a naughty horse and a girl who learns to deal with him – sort of – through a method called natural horsemanship. As the blurb says…
Would YOU buy a horse called Diablo? Seriously?
Kim is the world’s best parent pesterer. So when she pesters for a pony, she gets a pony. What she doesn’t know is that she’s just adopted an Evil Genius with only two things on his mind – hay, and World Domination. Having a horrible beast of a brother doesn’t help. Soon Kim realises the awful truth. There’s only room for one Boss in the paddock. Who is it going to be?
Diablo’s now on sale on Amazon in both Kindle and print versions. Ten percent of the proceeds of any sales will go to Horse Rescue Australia. Or – till 20 October – you can download it for free here from Instafreebie.