I was never the type of girl who wanted Ken and Barbie dolls (or the latter’s million-and-one accessories). As a child, the one thing I wanted during the holidays or on my birthday was a reddish-brown Argentinian Falabella mini-horse with a long blonde mane (not the My Little Pony ponies (really, ponies sleeping in beds and cooking in kitchens designed for humans?))
Because I remember being seven and riding a handwalked pony on a summer’s day, with a cowboy hat perched on my head at Stanley Park, and I was hooked on the all-too-short experience.
I could picture this much-desired Falabella (even the name is adorable) in our small backyard, keeping the grass from getting out at elbows with its constant munching, and negating the need to use the red, rusty manual lawnmower that we had picked up secondhand from somewhere.
We didn’t live in grinding poverty, but ours was a poor (but friendly) neighbourhood, and we were a family with limited financial means. A pony was a pipe dream. Practical considerations that included the purchase of hay and the means to house a pony, especially over the winter months, just didn’t enter my thoughts; and even back then, a plush toy was a pretty pricey item, too. I started drawing horses, unicorns, and pegasuses in grade five to compensate.
We eventually got a dog. Not quite the same thing. With his Heinz 57 pedigree, flat face, diminutive stature, and undershot jaw, he was as visually far removed from a pony as one could get. 🙂 He didn’t look anywhere as noble as I had envisioned a dog to be. Certainly not the German Shepherds (that I mistook for Huskies) who portrayed The Littlest Hobo TV show, or the string of male collies who portrayed Lassie. Even though he holds a special place in our hearts.
To this day, I still don’t have a horse. Not even in my plush toy collection. But the live ones, when I am fortunate enough to encounter them, are great beauties to look at.
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