Run, Little Pony!


Though pony ownership is every little girl’s dream, to this very day it remains a bit of a mystery to me as to how my own family ended up fulfilling it. Sure, every kid has dreams, but one thing I learned early on was that a dreamer was sure to be disappointed.

Ours was not one of those, “Darling, be a good girl and daddy will buy you a pony” kind of families. It was not a family of shiny leather and acres of well-manicured equestrian paradise, paddocks and riding crops and golden sunshine shafting through the haze of sawdusty air.

*cue Horse Whisperer soundtrack*


Robert Redford. That is all.

Hang on… I’m stuck in a Robert Redford moment….

(Umm… where was I again?)

My family was more like, “Pony dreams are for rich girls – does your daddy look like he plays Polo?” My family was more, “beer in the woods” than “juleps on the veranda.” My family was a functional barn and 30 acres, utilitarian to a fault, leaky, dusty, ancient, with a curved roofline standing in defiance of gravity. It was composting manure piled high and a zillion scary barn spiders. It was rusty ploughs and an ancient baler, a dozen head of cattle, chickens, occasionally rabbits and a duck we called George.

Any girlish fantasy of Scarlett, Rhett and Bonnie Blue leaping fences on her pony were just that: Fantasies. Wipe that dream out of your head right now. (I did say no juleps…)

rhett and bonnie

Yeah… this was NEVER gonna happen to me.

So how our motley crew of hillbillies came to be in possession of a Shetland pony is one of life’s mysteries that, for me at least, will probably never be solved.

Her name was Lady Jane… but as the saying goes, “She was no lady!” Lady Jane was a stubby legged brown and white creature with wide, sharp brown eyes that always seemed to know you were coming before you got there. Just in time to bare her teeth and take a nip out of your hide.

 She was mean as the day is long. Any attempt to ride her without a competent grown-up holding the lead rope landed you in a fresh pile of pony droppings. If nothing else, Lady Jane had excellent aim. She could land you in the muck with pinpoint accuracy, only narrowly avoiding your skull as she mule-kicked the air in her own special brand of victory dance.


The Shetland Pony: The fifth pony of the Apocalypse. (Yes, I am aware this one is male!)

Lady Jane was also a marvellous escape artist. I have vivid memories of being piled into the back of the car along with my siblings, armed with a bag of carrots, as we drove the countryside, hanging our heads out the windows and calling for her. Mind, this was well before the days of seatbelt and car seat laws, so hanging out of car windows at the tender age of 5 was perfectly acceptable in those days. Advisable even. The only way it could have got better was if we were riding in the back of a pick-up truck. With no tailgate. Ah, good times, good times…

Once we located our errant little mare, it would be another fine chase through someone else’s field to catch her. Somehow, the little minx managed to avoid so much as a scrape of barbed wire as she exited our fields and entered anyone else’s. I wish the same could be said of those chasing her down. She was wily as a fox, but also short-legged and easily tired out. Eventually and after much dirty fuss, we would lead the shamed and stubborn girl back home… until the next time she decided to leg it in favor of greener pastures.

rhett and scarlett

Oddly, it never occurred to me that if these two had actually been my parents, I would have lived a tragically short life. Dang.

Whatever became of her? Now that is yet another mystery. Perhaps my folks just got sick of running after her and decided to let her run.

I like to fantasize that one day, when they spotted her opening the gate and tiptoeing for freedom, they stood on the veranda (mint julep in hand), and watched indulgently. Daddy would straighten his cravat, dust off his breeches and look all pensive. Mummy would dash away a tear and straighten her wide-brimmed hat. A perfectly barrelled lock of shiny brown hair was caught by the gentle breeze as she whispered, “Run, little pony… run! Feel the wind in your hair… the sun on your withers! Just be free, little pony…” Mummy and Daddy would settle down on their rocking chairs and watch Lady Jane disappear over the horizon into the sunset…

Hey, this is my fantasy. If I want to allow a Rhett and Scarlett moment here and there, I am allowed. This fantasy surely beats what was the most probable alternative: A trip to the knacker’s yard followed by a beer in the woods.

julep (Mint juleps, anyone?)

Mother Hen

© motherhendiaries 2014 all rights reserved


21 replies »

  1. I am scared of horses. All horses including little nasty Shetlands. I’m surprised I made it through this post but the sight of Rhett and Scarlett gave me strength. And now I must share with you something unbelievable…….a new book has come out detailing the letters of Margaret Mitchell. She wanted Charles Boyer cast as Rhett. Now that’s scary.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Boyer??? Was she MAD?? 🙂 As it was, Clark Gable was sadly plagued by halitosis… poor Ms. Leigh. But at least she could LOOK at him. And I must surely post in future about Mitchell’s gross inaccuracies. I Love GWTW… don’t get me wrong. But in 10 years of research, surely she could have discovered that the Irish couldn’t get jobs in the late 1800s, much less plantations… just saying.


      • I know! The mind reels at the very idea of that villain from “Gaslight” playing Rhett. Gable was born to play that role. Re: the Irish. I think the O’Haras may have been descended from the “Scotch-Irish”, the Protestant Irish from Ulster, who came to this country 100 years or more before the Catholic influx. That would explain it because you’re right, the potato famine Catholic Irish were hardly plantation owners.


  2. What a fun read. Funny thing about Shetland ponies is that I have never heard of one that wasn’t mean!


  3. I had a pony for a while. My father brought him home one day. He was mean, too. I never knew when he was going to nip me. After a while, I gave him a wide berth, but a neighbor girl liked him and used to ride him. I think he liked her,too. She probably gave off good vibes and wasn’t afraid of him. 🙂 He was gone when I got home from school one day. Like you, I never knew where he went or what happened to him. Love your fantasy, though. I think I’ll go with that.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Ahh, the secret world of parental diplomacy… it’s probably best we were never really told the truth, Bella! I have yet to hear a pony tale involving a friendly one. When they started making My Little Pony toys, I was like… yeah… right. Sweet? Friendly? I don’t think so. 🙂


  4. I loved GWTW, as it was, a fantasy with a lot of inaccuracies. I would never have visualized anyone but Clark Gable, in this role! He was perfect in so many ways! I would have settled for James Garner, Rock Hudson (yes, I know he was not into women… but I did love him so, as a girl, like I loved Clark Gable) and Cary Grant…
    My two girls loved “My Little Pony,” one got to ride horses out west and the other got to go to G.S. camp and brush, care and ride one horse only one, her whole life so far… This is off subject, but one day I was driving with my son up front and the two girls, ages 5 and 8, at the time, arguing about one little adorable little baby pony, I don’t know how, but I used my elastic arm and grabbed it from the one who had it, opened my window and threw it out onto the highway. They both still remember that moment. Instead of crying, there was a lot of peaceful silence from those girls!


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