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The Shetland Pony Who Thinks Heís A Thoroughbred Stallion

We had problems with Ben from the moment we got him home from the auction. He was a vibrant chestnut pny with a long flowing tail and a flamboyant mane. He also had a temperament to match! He, Ben, m...

We had problems with Ben from the moment we got him home from the auction. He was a vibrant chestnut pny with a long flowing tail and a flamboyant mane. He also had a temperament to match!

He, Ben, measured all of 36 inches to the withers (the highest point of his shoulders), but in his mind he was as big as a Thoroughbred horse with the courage of a lion. Anyone encroaching on what he regarded as his personal space was treated to a ferocious display of hooves and teeth. Once he had established that due respect was being given to his supremacy he was quite agreeable to accepting homage in the form of carrots, Polo mints, etc. Ben would then permit himself to be haltered and taken for a walk. Traffic was not a problem. People were treated with disdain. In spite of his diminutive stature he still could give the impression that he was looking down his nose at them from a great height.

Ben also liked mares. The fact that most of them were considerably larger than he was just didnít enter into it as far as he was concerned. As soon as one came into view he would start snorting, stamping and showing off, galloping up and down behind the fence as they passed. As they disappeared from view they would be treated to screeching whinnies of rage and frustration.

The vet who was used to visiting our other horses thought that Benís total aggression problem appeared to stem from too much testosterone.

We decided he would have to be gelded in the interests of public safety and our peace of mind. Arrangements were duly made with the vet and we looked forward to a bit more of a tranquil life in the future.

But everything about Ben seemed to attract confusion.

He was not the only Shetland stallion in the village - just the best known. So when a vet turned up one morning enquiring for the whereabouts of the Shetland stallion he had come to geld, no-one thought for a moment about the other little pony who was quite happy to live life quietly keeping down the grass in his ownerís garden. By the time I got back from work that afternoon and went up to prepare Ben for his ordeal I discovered that the deed had been done.

I was surprised because the vet had promised to come later on when I was there. However I assumed there must have been a good reason for his early visit. Ben, although rather subdued, seemed quite settled so I left him to recover and went home.

Half way through supper there was a knock on the door and the vet walked in, apologising for being later than he promised.

Thatís right! Wrong vet, wrong pony! Just as well theyíd both needed gelding.

When I phoned the other vet he admitted that he had been taken aback by the fierceness of the pony he had gelded having been led to believe it was very quiet.

The only difference that gelding made to Ben was that he was no longer interested in mares. He remained convinced that he was as big as a Thoroughbred and brave as a lion. His new interest was terrorising the friends of my sisterís partner when they were working on their stock cars. But thatís another story.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Theodora Cochrane has a lifetimeís experience of looking after all sorts of animals from pet mice to horses. For more stories about Ben visit http://www.percydale.com or Email horses@percydale.com



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