Tita - My Number One
Tita and I literally fell into each other’s lives at exactly the right time. I had said right from the beginning that I didn’t want a grey and I didn’t want a mare but there she was and it was love a first sight. Well from my side it was, from hers, she was definitely sceptical….!
I remember the first time I saw her, standing in her stable, with her bottom facing towards me, she was seriously unimpressed by my arrival. I however, was very over-excited and couldn’t believe my luck. To be fair, she was the first pony I had seen BUT I just knew I had to have her. It turned out that she was recovering from a previous injury, whereby she had done the splits sideways with her front legs. This meant that she had an extremely short stride due to a sore left shoulder and a sore chest. She was only 10 years old at the time, so still young, so I felt sure that I could get her back on track, despite some negative comments from vets…..but I was determined!!
I started by giving her a few months of stretching, hand walking and gentle riding. However, when riding her, Tita soon realised that if she played up, I would jump off and then we would do the ‘walk of shame’ back to her stable. Being 40 at the time and having not ridden regularly for a few years, I wasn’t as confident as I had been in my twenties! There was one particular incident with a camel and a small pony but that’s for another blog……
I can honestly say that over the past five years, Tita has taught me so much about riding. Number one is never, ever rest on your laurels, it’s very easy to sit back, relax and think the horse will take care of the journey ahead but it’s very much team work and they rely on us, as much as we rely on them to push them forward when they are unsure. A horse is for life, not just for Christmas (so to speak), they take hard work, commitment and a bank balance that can care for them accordingly. I have never taken this lightly and I’ve had to put my own personal ‘wish list’ aside on many occasion, in order to pay the vet bills! The third point is, don’t take it for granted that they will respect you instantly, you have to earn their respect and be patient with them at all times. Tita has a tendency to be extremely grumpy (surprise surprise, she is a mare after all!) and it was 6 months after I had bought her, that she finally gave me her first whicker when she heard my voice. That was the best feeling in the world, as it meant the months of love, patience and dedication had all been worth it.
One thing is for sure, Tita has been my therapy through stressful times in my life. When I’m riding her, all my worries ease away. There is no better feeling in the world than cantering along, she really is so lovely to ride. She is quite spooky and can be unpredictable but of all my ponies, she is the most rewarding and fun to ride. I am so grateful for her and feel extremely lucky that we found each other, at a time when we both needed it. She is now and always will be my Number One Pony.