Our pony events/ programs are always well received by the general public but get little support from those in the "equestrian world" - amateurs, or those who consider themselves "professionals", for instance many FB friends like and respond in a positive manner to the photos and stories posted of our events and how these ponies help people and spread a little light in a sometimes dark world, but very few "horsey-friends" ever do.
A recent conversation with one such person and sought their opinion. It was kind of shocking and disheartening to hear that they weren't really supportive of any type of therapeutic use of equines and in particular ponies. Was told that what PPL does not contribute to the "equine world or economy" in the way showing, breeding, 4H, whatever, does. That they "dont DO anything...in other words it's just feel good fluff, not meaningful to the world of equestrianism.
What the what?!?!?!?! How close-minded & elitist.
The person was thanked & asked if we could share our viewpoint. Here is what they were told : if our ponies make one person smile & have a happy memory then the world is a better place. Simple as that, but hear the rest out....
That is just as meaningful as the .50 cent ribbon won in a showring. One is not better or more meaningful than the other. As for 'contributing' to the equine world, we assume that to make your training and instruction business lucrative you need a steady supply of clients...so the next time you are "working it" in a showring or standing along the rail coaching a fledgling rider in their first walk trot class on the stable's ancient schoolmaster, please consider this: our ponies are out and about doing meet n greets, standing patiently and kindly allowing tiny hands to explore, pet, brush & dream.
They are creating smiles & in many cases, changing preconceived notions about horses in general. i.e. they are not fire breathing dragons determined to eat little children. Over the last 17 years, many a future huntseat or trail rider, barrel racer or dressage queen has been "bitten with the horse bug" while sitting in their stroller petting our ponies. We know it & the parents know it...we chuckle when we see the dazed & slightly terrified look in their eye as they try in vain to peel their tiny offspring away from one of my charming little ponies. You're Welcome.
It takes a bravehearted horse to enter a showring with crowds and scary umbrellas, strollers and clapping..been there, done that..it takes a fiercely bravehearted little Shetland to climb stairs, ride an elevator, enter a room with strange sights, sounds & medical equipment & yet THIS IS WHAT THEY DO. This is their job & they do it bravely & tenderly.
While you are jumping a course & being applauded, our little guys are standing by a patient's bedside in a nursing home or hospital kindly allowing the patient to ruffle their mane with a hand crippled by arthritis while they reminisce, teary-eyed about their own childhood pony or re-living that last barrel run...There is no applause or ribbon that day, but sweet sweet memories for the patient, the family, the staff, for us. There is intimate heart connection & many times happy or bittersweet tears. There is comfort, caring & love.
As you are barking out orders to your 'barnrats' or patiently doing a leadline class or jumping 3'6, we recognize and applaud your efforts. We will continue to "like" your photos and stories on and off FB in support of you and your equines. Maybe you could think about doing the same for us. Our ponies are humbly changing lives & maybe even creating a new generation of riders for you to raise up and train. So remember this, ALL equines, however large or small, flashy or humble are worthy of our utmost respect & admiration.