Ponies. They’re cute, full of personality, and sometimes ornery as all get out. But no riding school or stable is complete without them. That’s why Bear Creek Stables has ponies…lots of ponies.
Many children learn to ride on the back of a little pony. Think Thelwell ponies… Their legs aren’t long enough to reach even halfway down the side of the pony. The helmet seems huge on their little head.
I’d see them at horse shows trotting and cantering around the ring on their trusty steeds. They’d even brave a course of eight fences. Just as often, I’d see them angrily yelling at their ponies or crying into their manes. Ponies are great comfort animals.
Never Had a Pony of My Own
I never had a pony of my own. I wanted one, but by the time I got my mother to agree to get me a horse, I was too tall for a pony.
However, I can remember being 11 or 12 years old and schooling ponies for my riding instructor, Dick Widger, at Spring Brook Stables in Chester, NY. At that age, my heels almost dragged along the dirt in the indoor arena as I whipped that “tiny horse” into shape after it misbehaved with a younger and less experienced rider.
As an adult riding at View Hello Farm in Elburn, IL, I would never leave the stable without a visit to Darlene Line’s lesson pony. Like most ponys, he had a big bushy mane and forelock and was very round. I gave my kids lessons on that pony. I recall my daughter’s frustration when he would take her wherever he wanted to go…not where she wanted to go.
Like I said… Ponies. They’re cute, full of personality, and sometimes ornery as all get out.
The Bear Creek Stables Ponies
Bear Creek Stables has ponies, too. Lots of them! In fact, it even has a pony co-op!
The first pony I met at Bear Creek Stables—the one I see most often and stop to pet and offer an apple or carrot on most of my visits—is named Chewbacca, or Chewie.
Chewie is a six-year-old “mini” or miniature horse. You might be wondering what that means or if a mini horse is any different from a pony.
Ponies' size and stature are different than those of a horse. Ponies are, obviously smaller (under 14.2 hands) and usually stockier than horses and feature thicker coats, manes, and tails. They also are proportioned differently than a full-sized horse. They tend to have shorter legs, wider barrels, and a thicker neck.
On the other hand, miniature horses resemble a full-sized horse on a much, much smaller scale. According to the American Miniature Horse Association, (AMHA), they must be between 34 and 38 inches up to the last hairs at the base of the mane at their withers. (They are not measured in hands.) The current miniature horse is bred to be more refined than the pony, with a long, flexible neck, straight legs, and a short back.
Chewie loves all the kids who come to Bear Creek Stables, and many of the little girls spend much of their time with him. They even hitch him up to a little cart and drive him around the stable area. Like quite a few of the horses and ponies at Bear Creek Stables, Chewie is a rescue. He came from a farm in Kentucky but was found abandoned.
Additionally, Ladybug and Charly, two other minis who make Bear Creek Stables their home, were rescued.
A Pony Co-Op
I don’t think I’ve ever been somewhere with a pony co-op, but Bear Creek Stables has one—and I think this is a fantastic idea. After all, how many little girls and boys want a pony of their own, but their parents can’t afford the cost of the pony and the monthly upkeep—not to mention lessons? This is the solution!
Charlie and Sugar are the co-op ponies. Seven families share the ponies, and each one has a day per week to ride or do whatever they want with a pony. The cost of this? Just $95 per month. That’s affordable for most families and allows seven children to realize their dream of “owning” a pony.
The Resident Unicorn
Now Sugar is an exceptional pony… She occasionally transforms into a unicorn and travels to visit children on their birthdays. She is the center of attention at unicorn parties around the Bay Area.
I saw Sugar arrive back home after making some little girl’s day. She was so lovely…her long, white mane and tail glimmering in the sun with hints of pink, green, blue, and yellow. She no longer had her unicorn horn, but she was magical!
If you want to help your child make a fantasy a reality, give her (or him) a unicorn party.
And, if your kids want to see or ride ponies, Bear Creek Stables is the place to visit. Contact Pam Ashford to set it up.
About the Author
Nina Amir is known as the Inspiration to Creation Coach. As one of 700 elite Certified High-Performance Coaches working around the world—the only one working specifically with writers, dancers, and equestrians, she helps her clients Achieve More Inspired Results. She also works with creators of all sorts to help them get from the light-bulb moment to the realization of their dreams without letting anything get in the way of that goal.
Additionally, Nina is an Author Coach who supports writers on the journey to successful authorship.
Nina has been riding since she was seven years old. She used to compete in the areas of equitation (Medal/Maclay) and hunters in the NY/CT/NJ area and briefly worked as an instructor and trainer in CA. However, she has schooled/trained horses in most places she has lived.
For more information, visit www.ninaamir.com.