My first pony was so beautiful. She was a Shetland and she carried us kids on her back for thousands of miles, before we eventually got a new horse.
Pipi was her name and she was incredibly tough and fast, even while walking. My dad used to lead her with a halter while we hung onto a strap attached to a special horse blanket, that we used for a saddle that could be tied to our pony by a girth. We never had much tack back then.
My dad couldn't let go of 'Pipi', otherwise she would take-off and bolt a hundred miles an hour and because my brothers and I (triplets) were only two years old, we weren't strong enough to pull her in.
Pipi was given to us by a farmer who said she was uncontrollable and certainly not suitable for kids. But my dad who was our main care-giver, and was desperate to get out of the house and introduce us to the natural world he so much loved, worked on training Pipi and within three days, we were away, riding the amazing Kawhia ocean beach.
Before we had turned three years of age, we had ridden our pony for over three hundred treks along a ten kilometre stretch of beach and even though my dad said 'Pipi' had a mean streak and was a bit untrustworthy, I simply adored her.
In the beginning, 'Pipi' would spook at a wave or a frightened bird and sometimes lunge forward so suddenly, that we would all fall off onto the sand. But after we had trekked her for at least fifty times, their was no way she could make us fall off, even when riding her bareback or jumping logs on the beach.
The following video is a short clip of Pipi, her foal and us.
My first equestrian skills were learned from 'Pipi'. Like grooming and paces and because of the many fond memories I still have of riding the ocean beach with her, she will always have a special place in my heart.