Like a walk through the country side living on a small farm is full of daily surprises, sometimes wonderful and amazing, and other times puzzling and sad. I hope you will walk with me as I live out my dream of living on this tiny farm. You will come to know the dogs, cats, Shetland sheep and chickens that make up this farm and what goes into keeping them happy and healthy. Come and join the journey with me.

Saturday, July 03, 2010


Cindy and Me--in the beginning...

Once upon a time there was a girl and her pony. The pony was very naughty sometimes, but was much loved.

I have always been a horse addict. Only in the last years has my interest strayed, and that mostly due to lack of time and safe riding areas. Alas, don't tell them, but sheep are not my first love.

When I was a kid, I was all about horses. I had my little plastic farm horses, I had my Breyers (which later turned into an extensive collection and years of showing them). I had my horse books. I took pictures of every horse along the highway with my little 110 camera, and what was worse was I knew where every horse was along the highway. Oh, and we can't forget the hours and hours and hours I spent drawing horse stories! When I got a little older, I convinced my Mom we needed to go to a horse show, and for several years horse shows became our weekend hobby. No we didn't show, we just watched! We'd park the car up by the arena, and put our blanket on the hood and with snacks from the cook shack we'd be prepared for a wonderful time. And we enjoyed it allot.

As a kid I spent a lot of my time crawling around pretending to be a horse (or tending to my large sprawling plastic farm)--so much so that I had huge callouses on my knees. Of course there were the stick horses too, and even the ones that got their sticks broken off --in wild bucking sprees no doubt--stayed in the string. They just became ponies.

My cousin and I had room to roam on their farm when we were kids and we invented ranches and horses and rich husbands.

In 1972 when I was nine years old, I went to town with my Mom one day. When we got back home, I got out and started to the house. About then my Dad and brother walked around the corner of the house with a little bay pony. Cindy had arrived. I had no idea that I was about to become owned by a pony! My Dad had bought her at the sale barn for $27.00 and she came out to our house in a big stock truck, and from what I was told it was a hairy ordeal. None the less she arrived in one piece. My Dad led me around on her and we went down to show our neighbor Ernie. Needless to say, I was thrilled to pieces and I'll never forget that moment when Dad led her around the corner of the house.

Right after we got her she somehow got loose in the barn. My Dad was at work, and I remember it was all high drama, and my Mom wouldn't let my brother or me go in the barn, as she bravely opened the door and went in to try and corral the unhappy wild little pony.

From what Dad was told, she had belonged to a couple of kids who had broke her and she was around two years old. Cindy was sorta broke...she wouldn't buck you off all the time anyway. She was not bit trained and came with a halter. Good neighbors gave me the saddle pad. See the big field in the background with me on Cindy? It was allot of fun riding her out there, but coming back was quite scary, with her in a full out, runaway gallop. Invariably she took me close enough to the pig pen to scare me to death.

Cindy really had no training, and I wasn't aggressive enough to be able to handle her well. A bridle with a bit helped, and my Dad tried some to get her more manageable. She was a smart little thing, and I dearly loved her, but she was very ornery and stubborn. We spent hours together--many with me on foot. When I got older I finally got over my fear and she had mellowed over the years too, so that there were several years when I rode her all over, even though I was pushing the 'almost too big for her' mark. I would even ride her with my first dog, Boots--a little cocker/peke/poodle mix--in my arms.

I spent hours grooming her and braiding her thick mane and tail and even bathing her. One time we had her shod--although I can't remember why--and I'm surprised she lived through it. Our friend shod her and he was very horse knowledgeable. I spied on them through a crack in the barn, and she was horrible about it all, and I think he was ready to kill her, I'm pretty sure I heard some swearing! ;-) Every one of her hooves was a different shape and size, and she kept those shoes on maybe a few weeks, tops. I still have some of her little horseshoes.

She was horrible on fences, and would pull down a good fence in minutes with her hooves. Periodically she would get out and take off for a little while. One time she was gone a whole day and was exhausted when she came back. That was the last time I remember her making a run for it. She hated dogs in her pasture and would nearly run them into the ground if she caught one out in the open. She also got this way towards my cousin and me which wasn't very funny. She was very possessive of her little piece of ground.

Over the years she colicked several times quite severely. The vet had to be called at least once and maybe twice. I remember walking her around and around during these episodes. She was only fed oats so she wouldn't founder and she loved her little pan of oats.

I learned allot from that little pony. I'm sure she had a solid dose of Shetland in there somewhere and much of the famed pony personality. I only had her six years, but somehow it seemed longer.

One winter she slipped on the ice and sprawled out with her front legs almost in a splits. She never recovered from that. We had the vet out and he said she was wormy and we dutifully wormed her. She lay in the barn most of the time and I sat with her for hours. Our neighbor gave us some good hay for her. She went out on pasture the morning that she died and we thought she was better. My sister and her family came for Sunday dinner and as they were leaving I went to check on my pony. Cindy was stretched out dead, and it looked like she had went peacefully. It was March 2, 1978.

I was inconsolable, as I loved that little bay pony so much. Even with all her quirks and attitude she was my buddy and we had allot of fun times together. We started out as just two little kids learning the ropes together. I had outgrown her and wanted a horse, but our pasture was small and I vowed I would never sell Cindy. I would just wait for a horse later.

Later that year in July I got my horse, twice, but that's Lady's story.....

Beautiful Bay Cindy


Angie said...


Carla always told me growing up, with you two being best buds, that you had a love for horses that nobody could compare to.
That is such a sweet story, and how awesome that your parents took you to horse shows when you didn't even have one to show yourself!
I've always loved cats and they really got me through my childhood. Friends with paws were always there for me!

Louise said...

I'm glad that you had Cindy with you when you were growing up. Once you are bitten by the horse/pony bug, there is no cure.

AJ-OAKS said...

What a wonderful friendship you and Cindy shared. First horses teach us the most. She sure was a cutie. Thanks for sharing your memory of her with us. Looking forward to hearing about the next horse that came into your life.

Vicki Lane said...

I loved this post, Tammy! I had the plastic horses, the horse books, and the dreams. I drew horses and I made long lists of horses names. I took riding lessons and begged for a pony. But as we lived in the suburbs, it wasn't happening.

Great story!

Star said...

I really enjoyed that recount about your ponies. I had an imaginary horse which I rode on to school every day.
Blessings, Star

Michelle said...

How appropriate that you posted your pony story after I spent the weekend reading the book "Chosen by a Horse." Her first pony wasn't too charitable, and the rest of the story has no similarity, just that "first pony love."

Anonymous said...


Sabrina Wille Erickson said...

Oh Tammy, this story just melted my heart. God bless little Cindy up in horse heaven!

Kathy said...

Those first ones never leave our hearts, do they? The memories are bittersweet, but we wouldn't trade them for anything.
Thanks for sharing Cindy's story...and allowing me to remember one of my own. :)