Girls Horse Club Blog

Pip: The True Story of a Pony Who Will Never Be Forgotten

Published by • Jul 26th, 2011 • Category: Tributes

by Millie, age 12

Pip. The pony who will stay in my heart forever. 13.2hh, Welsh Pony. The most beautiful palomino ever, with two brilliantly blue eyes, a white speckled belly, and a ‘bald’ face. His mane and tail were creamy-white, both long and flowing.

He taught me so much and gave me more than any other pony I had ever ridden, including a KO and barbed wire scars.

My mum used to work with his owner, Nicki’s mum, Joy. When she knew I rode, she offered to take us to see him, and that’s how I started to ride the little terror. I was six or seven.

To start with, we went round on the lead rein because he could be so spooky and unpredictable, gradually progressing to walking and trotting on my own before cantering and (infrequently) pole work. All this time I was learning about basics on the ground, which my riding school didn’t tell me. I learnt to use the correct brushes, to pick up his feet without hurting him and, when I was a bit stronger, to tack up. He was fine with the saddle, but with the bridle he just took the mick, throwing his head into the air so I couldn’t reach to put the apple-flavoured bit into his mouth. Now I’m at least five feet five inches. Ha ha, Pip.

In the summer, I got to bathe him occasionally. He loved it and literally fell asleep as I massaged the soap into his soft coat.

We started to jump, and it was a painful experience. He didn’t quite get the idea of going OVER the jump, not through it.

I went over on my eighth birthday. It was a Saturday and I got to ride and be with a horse all day for the first time in my life. We tried a tiny jump, and he put a little stride in, jumped it massive, and I went out the back door, landing on my bum. To this day, I still don’t know how I managed it. Later on, we went out for my first, and last, hack on Pip. We made it to the playground. The swings were scary. We turned back.

A little later, the next summer to be precise, we entered into my first ever ‘proper’ show. We bathed Pip the day before, and the next day drove to the showground. He was an angel, not bothered by anything. The funniest thing there would have been my dog, then just a few months old, in a baby pen. Everyone went over to have a look at the baby, only to see a crazy chocolate lab grinning up at them. Bless.

Anyway, we entered into an in-hand class — which one, I can’t remember. We didn’t get anywhere. Is it any surprise, because I didn’t know what to do?! Then we went into the Prettiest Eyes. We came in second to a horse with just average brown eyes. I don’t want to sound like I’m putting brown eyes down, but Pip’s were just so amazing and attention-capturing that you couldn’t let anything beat them.

After that, we went into Class 20: In-Hand and Ridden Rescue. I then found out that Master Pip (his show name) was, in fact, a rescued pony, hence he was often spooky. I rode and Nicki led me just in case Pip played up and decided to be a pain. But he was amazing. He went like a dream, with just one stumble, and I was amazed to be pulled up in first place! I was so proud of him, and so was Nicki. He was spoilt that evening. We went into the champion class, but got nowhere.To be honest, I didn’t care. We got a lovely trophy and rosette. They are two things I will never, ever part with. They mean the world to me now.

Later came the ‘Specta-falls.’ (Spectacular falls. I like making words up, as you can tell.) The first was down to plastic bags and a change of feed.

Pip was quite on his toes that day because it was quite windy. There were about five bags on fence posts in the field down from the outdoor school. Pip was fine to start with, then the wind gusted and the bags whooooshed. He freaked out. He bolted up the school, bucked, jumped the bank out of the school and ran up to the end of the field the school was in. I was still on. Then he turned. I went out the side (left), hitting the barbed wire fence. My foot got stuck in the stirrup and I was dragged along the ground until it came free and I was left on the floor. My hat silk was hanging off the fence, along with strands of Pip’s mane. My body protector’s cover was torn and the foam padding damaged. I had a sore, stinging scratch where a bramble had caught my eyelid. My leg was dead and numb from where it was pulled as I was dragged. Pip was fine. When he came back, he looked so sad and sorry. He had a tear in the corner of his eye. I’ll never forget that.

The second bad fall happened when I was about nine. We were changing the rein from B to E (or the other way round) when Pip decided he actually didn’t want to go the correct way, and started to turn the other way. When I tried to turn him back, he didn’t turn. I positioned myself for him to go his way when he turned and went my way. I came off sideways and hit my head on the fence. I temporarily lost my memory. When I woke up, I thought I was dreaming. Mum and Nicki were sitting by me, telling me it was OK and stuff. I was scared. I couldn’t remember how I got there, what I had been doing. We were quickly in the car and off to A&E. On the way, I began to remember how we got there, etc. I advise you not to copy me in any of my falls. They hurt. Lots.

Later that year, Nicki announced she was pregnant. We congratulated her, and then she told us. She was going to have to sell Pip and Barclay (her other horse who was kept with Pip) because she wouldn’t have enough time for them. I was heartbroken. After three years, my little friend was going to be sold.

Honestly, I can’t remember the last ride, but saying goodbye was hard. Mum luckily had her phone because we forgot the camera, and she took some pictures, but we never got them off her phone because we didn’t know how to. Pip knew something was up and went all cuddly.

I knew that day would come, but how quickly it came was too much.

I saw Pip once after that when he had moved to Joy’s stable out in her garden so Nicki didn’t have to pay rent on the stables where I rode Pip. He was in the stable and Nicki’s old bay, Duke, was in a paddock. I was let into his stable to be with him and I brushed him. I gave him his tea, as well as too many treats, but I didn’t care. I was happy to see my little man again.

That was the last time I ever saw the pony who meant so much to me. My mum went out for a meal with Joy and some old work colleagues for Joy’s retirement recently, and she asked what happened to him. Joy said they sold him onto a family with a seven year-old boy. Good luck, I thought.

By now, Pip will be about nine years old, I think. It’s amazing how time flies when you’re having fun, isn’t it?

I love you, Pip. Wherever you are now, whatever you have done, I just want you to know that I will always love you. You will be in my heart forever.

11 Nickers »

  1. Awww!
    That is soooo adoable!!!
    Are you from england?

  2. Yah

  3. Aww, I can definately tell you love him lots!:)
    I’m sorry to hear he got sold, I know it’s tough, I’ve been through the same thing before. Another horse will someday come your way, and you’ll make lots of new and amazing memories with that horse too.
    All the best,
    ~HH :)

  4. Ohhh… what an adorable story! Are you riding another horse now?

  5. Thanks guys, yeah, I had Willow a year or two after Pip as a share, then outgrew him after a year and a half. We had great plans and he was in the best condition ever, then I had to move on to Mouse. I still ride Willow sometimes because he is owned by Mouse’s owner’s daughter. I have my own, Missy, now, but still ride Mouse because she’s not broken yet (read ‘The World According to Missy’ for more!). I’m glad I’ve got Missy now, because we are hoping to grow together and not have to have any more heartbreak.

  6. That is sooooooooooo sweet. :0

  7. so sweet:)

  8. SO sweet you obviously love him to pieces!

  9. Your love for Pip was obviously very strong, and will last forever. Someone once told me that horses never forget anything, especialy riders who were good to them. I hope that someday you and Pip are reunited.

  10. Lovely =) Really hope you and Pip get to see each other again as it sounds like you both share an amazing bond of trust, love and friendship. Which is the best kind of bond…

  11. Thanks, guys… :’l