Horsin’ Around

We are just about finished with Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories About Dogs Vol. II. Originally it was going to be about all pets, but we had so many wonderful dog stories that it again turned into a dog book. We will, however, also be doing one of those nifty Kindle Singles for cats. If you’re not familiar with Kindle Singles, they’re eBook that generally “express ideas at their natural length” and cost less than $2.99. In essence, they’re inexpensive mini-eBooks. We’ll let you know when both of these items are available for sale.

We were very interested in doing a book about adopted horses, but we haven’t received enough stories to make a go of it yet. However, I recently edited this story about Filofax by Tylluan O’Sinend and enjoyed it so much that I wanted to share it with you:

The Kerry Bog Pony

By Tylluan O’Sinend

We had bought an old house that hadn’t been lived in for more than 10 years. It was on top of a mountain in beautiful County Kerry in the Republic of Ireland. Much work was needed on the house, as it had no running water or electricity. We lived in a caravan while we renovated the house, and soon after we arrived, we had a wild mountain pony at our door begging for treats.

At first we had no idea where he came from, but we soon learned he had belonged to the previous property owner, and he’d had been roaming around the mountain on his own for all those years. The relatives who inherited the house knew about the pony, but it was obvious they hadn’t cared for him because his hooves were in bad shape. I asked them if we could keep him, not because we needed or wanted a pony, but because we wanted to restore his health.

The old pony spent a lot of time lying down because walking was so painful. When we got a farrier (farrier is the English term for blacksmith) to look at him, he explained the pony had laminitis, a condition where the hooves grow too quickly due to too much sweet grass. He instructed us to watch what the pony ate, and he came back every six weeks to take care of the pony’s feet.

The pony was all white and looked like “Shadowfax,” the magnificent white horse from Lord of the Rings, except he was much shorter, so we called him Filofax or Filo for short.

In time, Filo’s health improved, although he resented having his freedom curtailed. He didn’t understand that by keeping him from roaming the whole mountain and stuffing his face with sweet grass, we were working to relieve his suffering. He was good for the farrier, but on the whole he was a grumpy old beast. We were never sure of his age, but we guessed he was about 15 at the time.

Eventually we nursed him back to health and after two years of care, he was a grand pony, walking well and used to humans again. Nevertheless, I never sat easy with the thought that he had not seen another pony in so many years.

I learned that Filofax was a rare Kerry Bog pony, which made sense since we lived in the middle of a Kerry Bog. Kerry Bog ponies almost became extinct in the 1990s, when they numbered less than 20. Today people are trying to mate them in order to save the breed. What makes Kerry Bog ponies unique is their stature; they are almost as small as Shetland ponies. Similar to Arabian horses, they have a distinctive dish face, too.

One day I discovered The Day in a Bog Museum a few miles down the road, a great tourist attraction dedicated to preserving the history of the area. I popped in and told them about Filofax, the lonely Kerry Bog pony. We got to chatting, and they offered him a home where he could be with other ponies. He’d be a star attraction ‑ a real Kerry Bog pony!

I’d miss Filo, but I thought of him having some pony friends after such a lonely life, and I knew I’d have to give him this chance of happiness. I arranged for the kind people from the bog museum to pick him up with their horse trailer. When they arrived, we were all apprehensive about getting this old, stubborn, grumpy pony into the trailer. Surprisingly, he virtually galloped into it voluntarily ‑ probably because there was hay inside!

Off they took him, away from the only home he’d ever known, his mountain. When he arrived at the bog museum and before he got out of the trailer, he heard for the first time in many years another pony neighing. Out he went to greet the beautiful Kerry Bog pony mare with big brown eyes. It was love at first sight!

The two bog ponies now share a field with a donkey, a goat, and a Kerry cow. At last, Filofax has a social life.

Whenever I think back to all the effort it took to get him healthy, I know it was absolutely worth the trouble. And every time I think of him with his new girlfriend, it puts a smile on my face.

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