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When a horse is a gift that keeps giving

A long time ago a little girl's mother asked me to get her what she really wanted: a pony for Christmas. The pony I found for that little girl was a sort of buckskin color with a sprinkling of white over his hips, a POA.

A POA is a Pony of the Americas, which started out as a cross between a Shetland and an Appaloosa and now has developed into its own breed.

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That was a darn nice pony with a good look in his eye, quiet and intelligent. I have never been all that tall so I rode him for a while before Christmas and he did everything that could be expected of him.

Then Christmas came and the little girl's mom and brother brought her to where I had a small barn with a few horses in it. The little girl wanted to show me and my horses her new halter and lead rope that she had been given for Christmas.

One of the top doors was shut on the aisle where the stalls were and there was a HUGE red ribbon on that door.

She stopped and looked at us and said, "What's this?" and we said, "Open it and see!"

She opened it and was delighted. She said, "It's a PONY!" And then it hit her.

She yelled, "IT"S MY PONY!" and it was love at first sight between the two of them. That pony seemed to know that he had been born to be THE pony for that little girl.

He was THE pony for that girl for his entire life, long after she had other horses and a husband and a little girl and a home.

And now her own daughter is all grown up. She has KWPN horses (the long form of this is the Royal Dutch Sport Horses) to work with and her own life with horses.

This is the way that the KWPN introduces itself to the world:

"The KWPN (Royal Dutch Warmblood Studbook) is known around the world as the source for good riding horses, many of which perform successfully at the highest level of the sport. To maintain the quality of its sport horses, the KWPN implemented specialized breeding several years ago. Since then, breeders have been able to choose stallions which fit a specific breeding goal. Stallions are classified according to the following four breeding directions: jumpers, dressage horses, harness horses, and Gelder horses."

Which is enough information for the purposes of this little story.

This is what is said of the daughter:

"[She] is a USDF Silver Medalist and nearing the completion of her Gold Medal. She is currently schooling several horses with a wide range in age and ability including several at the Grand Prix level. She has a heavy background in equitation and jumpers and applies her dressage focus to those disciplines as well. She has successfully trained and sold a large number of horses to dressage riders, jumpers, hunters and eventing."

So I suppose that original little girl and her Christmas pony have done what they were supposed to do, instilled the love of horses into (at least) one of yet another generation of little girls and this one has gone on to become what is very close to a gold medal rider ... one who has her eyes on the prize at the 2020 Olympics, by the way.

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And there is another member of that family that has a way with animals.

Dad is a K-9 cop. He is one of those guys who brings out his K-9 partner and sends it into action to put the fear of dog into the lives of miscreants who might otherwise think it was a good idea to be a real bad guy with the men in blue. Somehow the idea of being the target of a single-minded fur missile is not all that enticing to the bad people of the world which is probably one of the only things that they do that makes sense to the rest of us.

This officer told me the story of linking up with his current partner. In short, they met, they hit it off and he was told, "Here is a list of your commands." He looked down and saw words he had never seen before in his life.

It seems his dog spoke only Czech as he was trained in the Republic of Czechoslovakia. The human half of the K-9 partnership spent several rather frustrating (not to say humiliating) days wherein his highly trained dog would sit attentively and look blankly at him while he tried and tried again until he mastered speaking Czech with precisely the right inflection.

It all worked out, but he said it sure wasn't what he had in mind when he met that dog.

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