With all my experiences with horses I believe a Shetland pony is the meanest animal alive. They will kick you, bite you and do just about anything they can to hurt you. When I was a kid growing up on the ranch, my older brother and I would take them in and break them, or attempt to break them for five dollars apiece. Most of these were from neighbors and relatives and come to think of it, I don’t ever remember getting paid. The first pony we took in was from our nearest neighbors and they wanted us to break her so their youngest daughter could ride her. Her name was Copper and she was kind of a pretty little thing but that was the only thing she had going for her.
I was about ten or eleven and my brother was thirteen. That seems a little young to be breaking horses but we prided ourselves on our riding capability. Our dad raised registered Hereford bulls and I can assure you that everyone of them was broke to ride.
We would always start riding these pony’s inside the hay fence. That way you always had that cushion of old hay to land on when you got bucked off. The first one to climb on Copper was my brother. She didn’t buck but rather did a head long run right into the fence, such is the mentality of a Shetland. It took my oldest brother and me about a half an hour to cut both of them out of the fence.
A couple weeks later my folks went on a fishing trip for a week or so and my gramma came to stay with us basically to cook and to keep an eye on us. She was a grand lady and was always worried about us. She was always worried that we would get hurt and we would reassure her that we wouldn’t do anything to get hurt and not to worry. This one day we were out in the pasture a ways riding and I was on Copper. We always rode bareback as we didn’t have any saddles to fit a Shetland. We topped the hill above the ranch and decided to head back. My brother thought it was a good idea to race back to the barn. We just got to a full gallop when Copper did a sunfish on me, (that’s when they put their head down and do a quick side step to throw you off and only a Shetland pony knows how to do it. I didn’t go completely off but I was pretty much hanging under her neck grasping hunks of mane. At this point I knew I was beyond the point of recovery and could feel my fingers slipping. Apparently when I dropped one of her hooves hit me on the head and the lights went out. So there I was laying out cold on this hill just above the ranch and where gramma could possibly see me. My brother did the most logical thing he could think of and that was to grab me by the feet and drag me down to the creek into the cattails where gramma couldn’t see me. I have no idea how long I was out but when I woke up it was starting to get dark. We went into the house and gramma just about freaked out when she saw this huge knot on my forehead. My brother made up some kind of story that I tripped on a frozen cow turd and hit my head on a fence post.
I just don’t know how I would have survived that incident if it hadn’t been for the quick thinking emergency procedures my brother performed.