Does Anyone Else Know What It's Like?
by Jilly Evans

Does anyone else know what it's like to have a horse everyone hates?
Hi. My name is Jilly and I have an eight-year-old pony named Kirkwood That's Final (a.k.a Finn). Finn is your typical chestnut mare; stubborn, irritable, and very temperamental. She kicks, bites, bolts, and rears. She takes any opportunity to be a pain, hates traveling, can't stand children, is practically impossible to shoe . . . The list goes on. One of her favorite tricks
is pretending to be lame. She'll be fine when I catch her and saddle her up, but once I get onto her back, she'll limp around, pretending to be in pain. Once I've un-saddled her and let her back out into the paddock, she'll kick up her heels and gallop off, laughing. But Finn is also a brilliant jumper. She'll jump almost anything, and has won heaps of Eventing and Show Jumping classes. She knows whether or not she has won, and she's a very competitive pony. She likes to race as fast as she can around the course, jumping from impossible angles and barely clearing the fences, twisting and turning, daring me to keep up with her. I love Finn to bits, and she knows it, but I'm the only one who does. Everyone else who knows her can't stand her, and she knows that too. This only makes her even more grumpy, even worse behaved. I can't even take her to Pony Club anymore, because she just kicks everyone -- people included. She even tries to bite judges unless she has come first!
The trouble is, if people didn't hate Finn so much, she'd be better behaved towards them. When I first got her, I didn't like her much either. But I knew that I was going to have to love her if I wanted to go anywhere with her. So I did. I spend hours with her everyday; riding, grooming, feeding, and playing. If she plays a game with me, like refusing to be caught, I'll play along. If she bolts when I'm riding her, I urge her on until she runs herself out. Gradually she has begun to listen to me and do what I tell her to. We're great mates now. But try telling anyone else that. Even my instructor hates her. People keep telling me to sell her, or put a bullet through her head. One particularly malicious Pony Club instructor told me that Finn was "a waste of space." No matter what Finn does, people hate her. She won the Speed Pony of the Year title last year, and I thought that then people would finally appreciate her for the wonderful pony she is. But no one seemed to care. A few people like her, and get along with her. The trouble is, she has to graze alone, because she beats up any other pony that goes into her paddock. All except for Mosaic, my first jumping pony. Mo to his friend, of whom he has many, was the perfect pony. Everyone loved him, and he got along really well with Finn. But I grew out of him, and he had to be sold. Finn has been grazing alone ever since. I'm fifteen, but I'm already starting to outgrow Finn, who stands only 14.1hh. But whose going to buy her? I may have to keep her for the rest of her life, which would be a waste of a fantastic little pony. I'd love to hear from anyone else whose horse or pony is unpopular. It's been really hard on me, because I've lost a lot of friends at Pony Club since I got Finn. I'm never selected for any teams, no matter how good Finn is. No one wants to ride with me anymore, and since she kicked a
small child (who ran up behind her yelling), she isn't allowed to be ridden off our property except to competitions.
If anyone else is in the same predicament as me, I'd love to hear from you. I love Finn more than anything, and wouldn't hurt her for the world. Even though I've lost a lot of friends, I've gained one really special friend who'll never let me down. A friend for life.

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