Dreams to Reality....
As a pony mad kid I always dreamt that my 'perfect' horse would be a black welsh stallion with fiery nostrils, lots of hair and an ability to gallop for miles and rear on command..... I got older and my ideal changed a little but I still sought perfection in the 'big boys'..... a number of falls from the big boys and practicality then sent me towards the ponies again (there is something wonderful about their personalities and humour not to mention being able to get on easily!). And then that's when Roller arrived. My heart had been stolen by a mini mule and I realised that what he really needed was a buddy of his own size to play with and groom at his own level (it was tough for him to groom and jink with a full grown horse!). So I decided we would look for a little companion.
In the Beginning
Roller was in a field with a multitude of other ponies for sale, all minis, all cute and mostly 'in your face'. It was the middle of winter with the remnants of snow on the ground and a mighty wind blowing, all the ponies had wet coats and looked a little less than handsome. So we were duly shown the ones for sale, most were friendly - in our pockets and very people orientated, some were a little nervous, pretty much all of them were bunched together chilling out as a group. And then there was Roller..... he was on his own dutifully munching away keeping his eye on us but not really coming forward. He looked a little less than immaculate in his bedraggled state and didn't seem that keen on saying hi, that made me all the more intrigued (I have a thing for the underdogs in case you haven't noticed!). So we caught him up and tried to see what was underneath the damp, yep a pony! I have no idea why but I had to have him over all the others, for some reason I thought his calmness would offset The Mini's feistiness well and maybe he needed the chance to come out of the others shadows?
The deal was done - thank goodness for that! What an amazing purchase, little did I know I had found my practically perfect pony without dreaming I would. What I thought I'd bought was a companion who would be quiet and no trouble, in reality we had just found a priceless gem :-)
So what makes this little mini shetland the practically perfect pony? Forget the black stallion, these days my horsey heart belongs to a diminutive mini shetland!
I know I've said this before but Roller really is the epitome of gentle. He is the member of the gang that I can trust with anyone or anything. He is the one that we bring out to meet even the most nervous of children or adults that we can trust not to put a foot wrong. He is accepting of all, won't be overbearing and just seems to instill confidence in people. Roller or Rolly as he is affectionately known by some has a huge fan club who love him for just being 'him'
Ever wished your equine was bombproof? (yeah me too!) Well I don't really believe in this saying as I do think all equines can have their moments and if you expect bombproof one day you'll learn it doesn't exist. However..... Roller is about 99.99999% bombproof. This little man doesn't bat an eyelid at anything. We have never really 'trained' him to be bombproof, he just is, it's in his nature. He will face down monstrous tractors, packs of dogs, flappy tarpaulins, bonfires, hedge monsters, screaming kids, bursting balloons, hysterical mules and any other such things that are thrown his way. He may occasionally shy - in Roller's terms this involves a blink of the eyes a little sooner than required or a half
inch side step.
The Perfect Design
Every time I glimpse Roller in his winter woolies I marvel at his perfect design for the cold months. This little pony's ancestors evolved to live on the harsh Shetland Isles where there are few trees, the wind blows strong, there is lashing rain and deep snow, once upon a time even the people were stunted due to the weather. His coat is luxurious, his mane and tail protective, his surface area tiny to prevent heat loss, his legs well covered and his dietary efficiency something of legend (nearly as good as the mules which is no mean feat!) This does leave Roller in a little trouble in the Spring and Summer months though..... he is so well fluffed that he needs months to moult and can get a little 'moth eaten' looking and require some help to shed - all the more excuse to spend quality grooming time with him, no hardship at all!
I know I'm biased but oh my I do so adore looking at this handsome little chap. There is something about his style that makes me smile. He is just adorable! When the moods takes him and he decides to have a gallop there is not much finer than his blowing mane and tail and shimmering coat - forget the black stallion running through the waves, I'll take a handsome Roller any day. He's also got many shades of handsome. From the golden tones of summer to the creamy shades of winter; handsome is as handsome does.
All of this could make Roller sound like a bit of a 'go with the flow' type, which he is. But, this pony also has a mighty opinion on things that are important to him! Show him an opportunity at food and he'll take it. He is the houdini, commando crawling, fence busting devil of the gang and keeps me constantly trying to outwit him. He is also the one who will be very upset when the V.E.T. comes with his yearly vaccination - his circus pony impression stood on his back legs is something to behold, can't say I blame him, I hate needles too! But none of this upsets me, I love the fact that he has a mind of his own and is not afraid to share it with those of us around him when he really needs to ;-)
So what is it that makes Roller only practically perfect? OK so he is pretty much perfect but there is one thing I wish if even for a day......
A Little Bit Taller?
I wish he were just a little bit taller...... he is delightful in miniature and I really wouldn't swap him for the world but occasionally I wonder what it would be like to ride this handsome little man. He is everything that most people would wish for in a trail / hacking pony. He is great company and solid. Alas his little leggies will never grow and mine certainly won't ever be short enough. I'll just have to dream of me and Roller galloping together through the waves on a sunny beach. This one limitation is only a small price to pay to share life with the practically perfect pony ;-)
I'm off for a coffee in the paddock with the sun on my back, a cat in my lap and the best view of all, a very handsome Roller in all his winter fluff happily munching on fresh green grass with his best pal practically joined to his hip - what could be better?
Have a lovely weekend!