The 2nd of July is National Farrier’s Day. It is to encourage horse lovers, riders, and trainers so say thanks to specialists in the equine world.
This had me thinking about how as a youngster I loved horses. Watching Cowboy and Indian films in the sixties meant I could see them galloping across the plains at great speed. Seeing their long beautiful equine bodies stretched out showing powerful muscles was a sight to behold. My mother told me I would cry when they fell. Cowboys, getting shot, always brought down his horse as well. I still don’t like seeing a horse fall.
In the late sixties, we moved house, and I went to a new school for my last year before I started secondary school. Every day, I would go to the library to read the same book about a pony. I became absorbed in the words and pictures as the story unfolded afresh every day.
When I left school, I moved on to other things. I never forgot that book. Unfortunately, I did forget the name.
In the 90s, the internet became more accessible, and I found myself in a chat room. I related the story and asked if anyone recognised it.
It was about a boy who had a pony, and one day he didn’t want to ride him and chose the big stallion instead. The pony was sad as he watched them ride out together. When they didn’t return, the pony became concerned and went to look for them. The big horse had ridden across a frozen lake, which cracked and they fell through into the water. The horse got out, but the boy could not. It could not help because it was too heavy to go back onto the ice. The little pony wasn’t heavy, therefore able to rescue the child. The boy proclaimed his love for his beloved pony once more, promising he would never abandon him again.
When I married and had my own children, I wanted to share that story with them but of course, couldn’t because I still could not remember. I don’t think I ever took in who wrote it. Those things didn’t interest me then. All I wanted was to devour the story inside.
So that was when I asked in a chat room and was thrilled when someone came to my rescue.
The book was called Little Black, A Pony by Walter Farley. As soon as I saw the book cover, I recognised it immediately. When I looked him up Farley was a prolific writer of horse stories. I wished I had known that back then.