This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Sunday, April 24, 2011


Sometimes my brain takes me on strange journeys. My thoughts wander around and I'll find myself going down a path I thought I'd forgotten. Such was the case today.........I have no idea why Attar popped into my head but perhaps he has a story that needs telling.
Attar was a small palomino Arab/QH cross who was used for lessons back in the early 80's at the farm where I took lessons. I had this propensity for taking a liking to the "odd" horses - the ones who were temperamental or goofy; the ones no one else liked to ride and only did so when all the other horses were "taken." Attar was one of those. He may have only been about 14 hh but he had a buck like a rodeo horse! He was flighty and nervous and various attempts to take him to shows had ended in disaster for whoever his unlucky rider was that day. I liked Attar. I liked his attitude - he took no prisoners and he did not suffer fools gladly. I don't know why we "clicked" but we did. It was only after we'd become a "pair" that one of the other riders commented to me one day as I was grooming Attar in the cross-ties, "He's blind in one eye, you know." No, I didn't know but it was one of those "light bulb moments." No wonder he was "flighty and nervous!" I asked what had happened to the eye because, to MY eye, his left eye seemed OK. "I dunno," the other person said, "I heard that he tried to bite whoever was feeding him a few years ago and they hit him in the head with the grain scoop and he lost the sight in that eye." Another missing piece to the puzzle! I'd be grumpy and distrusting, too, if someone had whacked me upside the head with a grain scoop!
My first dressage test on Attar was in early spring, a small schooling show at the farm where he lived and I rode. He was still hairy from the winter and I'd had a heck of a time getting him looking presentable for the day. To my dismay, the other competitors in the class were riding tall, sleek, shiny, obviously blanketed all winter thoroughbreds or maybe warmbloods. I suddenly felt small and insignificant. No matter, I told Attar we would be fine. But to make matters worse, my instructor (also the farm owner) warned me that I'd better "lunge the crap out of him" prior to my class or I'd get bucked off. Gulp!!! There was no time......We were the first ride in our class and I was grateful for that. We'd go in, do our best, and slink off quietly. I took a deep breath, smiled, and when the bell rang, entered smartly at A, working trot rising. As we departed from X (or an approximation thereof) and began to track right at C, the judge's Jack Russell terrier caught sight of one of the barn cats meandering across the ring behind me and shot out from under the judge's stand like a bullet, neatly dodging Attar's hooves, and causing him to bolt! We recovered quickly and I waited for the bell signaling us that we were politely excused but there was no bell. Instead the judge (who shall remain nameless) was frantically calling the dog and gesturing for her scribe to run and catch the little beast. I stopped and Judge waved me over. She apologized six ways to Sunday (after all, she had committed a serious breach of horse show etiquette - ALWAYS KEEP YOUR DOG ON A LEASH!) and told me that she would allow me to start over. I figured that it couldn't get much worse so we had our do-over and to my shock and delight we won the class and the women on their sleek, shiny horses were miffed! I'd like to think that we won on our own merit and not because the judge felt sorry for us!
Next up was an ENYDCTA show and I chose to ride Attar again. I could hear the snickering and snide comments behind my back but I didn't care. By then I'd developed a bond with the pony and nothing could deter us! When we arrived at the show, Instructor again gave me dire warnings about "lunging the crap out of that horse" or he'd end up jumping out of the dressage ring or bucking me off.........
Here's what is interesting to me now - I didn't listen to her; I listened to what my gut feeling was telling me and "lunging the crap" out of Attar gave me the NQR! I smiled at Instructor, looked at Attar getting all frazzled as he simply stood beside me, and thought, "No way. I'm doing this MY way today." I went with my gut feeling; I listened to my horse. I took his lead rope and we started walking. I let him stop and look at everything. We grazed beside the ring, we stood beside the judge's stand and listened to the bell, we moseyed all around the show grounds. I watched Attar carefully and could see him begin to relax. He nudged me with his head now and then as though saying, "This is neat, huh?" When I tacked up, he was calm as could be. Our ride was wonderful and we placed 4th and 5th that day - out of over 15 entries in each class. I was delighted and very proud of "my" little guy!!
It was one of those times when I listened to the little voice inside me......I trusted that voice and Attar trusted me that day. I realized that his show experience had been "arrive at show, unload, have lunge line slapped on, run in circles til I'm dizzy and sweaty, slap on tack, PERFORM!" Poor guy never had a chance to just figure out where he was or to see what was all around him and with one eye, that had to be especially difficult.
I wish I could tell you that Attar lived happily ever after but unfortunately that was not the case. Shortly after we began our "show career," I got pregnant with child number 3 and was violently ill and then got rather "large" and I stopped riding for a while. I did help out with a show just after Katie was born, tho, and someone else rode Attar. I tried to give her some friendly advice but she chose to listen to Instructor and lunged the poor guy to a frazzle before her class. As she picked up the canter during her test, Attar gave one whopping buck, launching Sarah neatly into the air, and jumping right out of the ring!
Poor Attar ended up going to auction after that
and I wasn't there to "save" him. I always felt badly about that. But I guess my point is that sometimes the "bad" horses aren't really bad - they're just misunderstood. They need us to see things from their perspective and to adjust our behavior accordingly.
Attar was a neat little pony and I learned a lot from him. I'd like to thank him for popping in to see me today (cue theme from "Twilight Zone" for those of you who aren't convinced about animal communication! LOL) and asking me to share his story. Another blast from the past...............

So live that your memories will be part of your happiness.” Anonymous


  1. Love your story about poor, misunderstood Attar. At least you gave him a chance for a while.

  2. I'd forgotten about Attar! Thanks for refreshing my memory! Good for you for being a bright spot of love and understanding in his life!