~ My Pony ~

Every Saturday night, after all others went to bed, my dad and I would watch cowboy movies together. After each movie, I had dreams that I had my own pony.

I loved the white ponies with huge brown spots of color.

A few years passed and finally when I was 14, my parents had saved enough money to buy me my own.

His name was Tony, the same pony I had dreams of, a spotted pinto.

He stood 14 1/2 hands high and was the perfect size for me. When he looked at me, his eyes portrayed the gentle creature that he was.

Shortly thereafter, I joined the 4H program. I was taught the proper way to sit in the saddle and certain nudges from my feet for commands needed.

Summer was almost over and that meant only one thing. The 4H horse show competition. I was so excited for I really did look like a cowboy with hat and boots to match.

I was really nervous, but Tony was so calm for he had competed with his former owner in shows.

I had the correct posture, hands just so, but Tony was so tired after competing all afternoon, he broke stride one time and after the show was over I was told had he not, we would have won the "blue" ribbon. But I was not upset, after all, it was our first horse show together and I felt we did just fine. We came in 5th place.

The walk back home was a mile from the fair grounds, Tony listened with recognition while I talked to him.

We made it home and I took off the saddle and brushed his coat with gentle strokes, hugged him and gave him a treat.

The following month was when he had the accident.

Something scared him in the barn for we found later a snake skin. He tried to get out of the barn quickly, but fell and was lodged in the doorway.

I found him early the next morning when I went to feed him. His coat was all covered in sweat from stuggling to free himself. He was so tired and wore out. I just could not believe what I was seeing, my "Tony" hurt.

I screamed and dad came running from the house.

Daddy hugged me then ran to find what was needed to move Tony. He gently wrapped a rope around Tonys body, and with the tractor, he slowly moved him onto a sheet of plywood then drove to the huge swing he had built.

He placed heavy boards under Tony, made a harness for support and used the block and tackle to hold him up.

I took care of him the rest of the day, making sure he had water and food, but he would not eat.

The next day I was eating breakfast and something told me to turn around and look out the window. At that time Tony raised his head , looked up me and I knew what was coming next.

I ran outside, put my arms around his neck and told him how much I loved him. He looked at me with such sad eyes, almost if saying," I am sorry I have to go ~ please understand". Then he closed his eyes and died in my arms~

Tony was my escape, when we went on our daily rides, he listened when I talked , the only one I thought I could talk to that would believe me. He truly seem to understand the pain I had gone through years before.

He knew what memories surfaced and he stood so patiently while my body was shaking with fear as I was trying to get into the saddle.

Each time it took several minutes for me to calm down. Trying to block out the awful memories. Tony was so gentle and walked slowly at first. When he could feel me relax, a trot he would go into , then eased into a gallop.

The pain from memories was eased for a bit and was replaced with freedom and escape from ~ entrapment.

With Tony's death, I lost the only friend whom I could talk to, who did understand ~ life after was not the same...so consumed with grief for I had lost my safe zone.

God works in mysterious ways....from what awful three years, association from memories, then to have my own pony ~ Tony was truly sent by God, to help me work through, something, even if not a person...a life line, an understanding of ~ It will be okay...trust in Me, for I will never forsake you~

Memories of an outlet sent by God. My friend, my pony ... I will always miss him. The child in me would like to believe that one day we will ride togther again as dearest of friends in open fields heading into the sunset.

What a divine time we will have ~

poem and photograph copyrighted@Linda Elaine Calhoun 2000

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