How we got Bonny
We rescued Bonny with her mum Capri, in 2003. She was a big, overweight, out of contro,l one year old with no manners whatsoever. According to the previous owner, her dad was a Belgian draught horse; her big head and stocky body certainly backed that up. Her beautiful chestnut colouring, with long, thick mane adds to the whole wild effect – she really is a character.
Bonny settled into our herd very well, with her mum by her side, which gave her confidence. Soon she became one of the gang and firmly put in her place if she tried to be too bossy.
We discovered that Bonny was born just two weeks after our foal Leo but was very mature for her age. By the time she was three we decided to introduce her to the world of riding.
It was the first time we had backed a youngster and we were not sure what to expect. All the books said that she would buck when the saddle was first put on her back. Then she would be nervous about walking forward etc, and not know what to do with her legs.
Luckily for us, Bonny had not read the books and it was as if she had always been ridden.
Her first “ride”
We carefully put the saddle on her back and she acted as if nothing had happened. So we walked her around for a bit, for her to get used to it – still no reaction. Ok, we thought, lets see how she feels about some weight on her back.
Our daughter Elizabeth carefully laid across the saddle, still no reaction, even when we led her around the paddock. She just cared about being able to eat grass, she was totally oblivious to anything else. Thinking it was all too good to be true; Elizabeth then carefully sat on the saddle. She allowed Bonny to carry on moving around, eating and just wandering wherever she wanted. Bonny was completely happy with the rider on her back and we were ecstatic that this first stage had gone so well.
Coming of age
The next day we did the same thing, but this time leading her mum Capri in front of her. She happily walked around the edge of the arena on a long lead rope with Elizabeth on her back, following her Mum. As she was so completely relaxed, we decided to try a little trot. We got Capri to enter trot and just let Bonny follow if she wanted. She went into trot beautifully without a buck in sight and seemed to be really enjoying herself. It was as if she was saying ‘look Mum, I can be like you’. We couldn’t believe how smoothly it had gone, we were thrilled.
Her first hack
After a couple more sessions like this we were keen to take Bonny out into the big wide world. We wanted her to be a confident hacking horse, so why not start as we meant go on. With her Mum to follow, Bonny was perfectly happy to go out. It was easy to teach her the transitions to trot and canter, we simply asked her Mum to do it and Bonny followed. Within a couple more days we were having the first canter, out on the trail. Much easier for Bonny, not having to worry about corners or fences, just a nice straight line, following her Mum. Bonny very quickly became a lovely, useful pony, nothing seemed to spook her and she was a pleasure to ride.
Her career was put on hold for a while a few months later, when we discovered that she was pregnant by Leo. One morning Bonny started to show symptoms of labour, how exciting!. Poor Bonny, a few hours later, she was becoming so stressed, rolling and sweating and pawing the ground. Nothing was happening and we decided to call the vet.
After an internal inspection the vet informed us that the foal was the wrong way round but that he did not think she was in labour. It turned out to be a rare late pregnancy colic. From what we could understand, it was some sort of complication of the pregnancy. He made her comfortable and told me that if she started giving birth I would have to try to turn the foal and showed me what to do – help! as you can imagine, this was not something I really wanted to have to attempt. I prepared to spend the night in the stable with her and after a sleepless night things had calmed down and thankfully Bonny was completely fine by the morning. Phew! What a relief!
One becomes two
Bonny finally gave birth a few weeks later, perfectly naturally in the middle of the night. Greeted in the morning by her beautiful little filly, who we named Twiggy as she was a bundle of bones, due to Bonny’s illness. Not a natural Mum, she really did not want poor little Twiggy to suckle, and kept threatening to kick her every time she tried. Fortunately, by holding one foot up so that she couldn’t kick, we were able to encourage the process along. Bonny soon got the hang of things. Bonny and Twiggy are now inseparable, a real terrible twosome.