One time, I observed a fella ponyin two horses off his own good branded workin horse, one off each side of his own horse’s work saddle, and thusly exercisin everybody at once inside his own ropin arena. Not only did they all walk together, they also jogged and loped around with their best polite ponyin manners, like they was a bonafide team. There wouldn’t have been one remarkable thing to say about that back at the ranch where I was raised, but here on the County Island, it’s rarer than a rattlesnake that’s glad to meet ya. A horse hardly ever sees ponyin done on the County Island, or seen it done proper. Most times, if there’s ponyin to be done, the people get it done like the multi-taskin girls used to back before they swapped their own good horses for some of their own likely not nearly as good fellas with rumbly-trucks. They surely had the strangest ponyin style I ever seen.
Anyhow, I’d likely’ve been more impressed by the fella ponyin the two horses around and around his arena if he’d ponyed ‘em across some range full of hills and arroyos and cactus and such, and was actually takin ‘em somewhere useful to do some useful work. But like the young horses say, he still had skills. And I got to give my respect to his good rope horses whether they was ranch-raised or not.
It also reminded me of the time I was made to pony Original Coors, ‘cause that resembled this in no way at all.
Bein ponyed or bein the pony-er is all about keepin a proper pace. In case you’re one of those County Island folks who ain’t acquainted with proper ponyin, let me make ya a picture of it, thusly.
This here is some sorta well-known cowboy around the County Island and likely beyond it, name of Mr. John Lyons. He knows how to pony.
Don’t look all that hard, does it? Let me tell y’all how hard certain horses make it, and by certain horses, I mean Coors.
He ain’t a bad horse, for all my talk. He’s just got his own ideas about what a proper pace is, and he hardly never wavers from it, both of which is real bad things in my considerable estimation. But when you’re that horse that’s bein ponyed, you got to go at the pace that the ponyin horse sets, which is also set by the rider, or course. It’s the rider’s job to tell the pony horse what to do, and it’s the pony horse’s own job to tell the pony-ee horse what to do. In this instance, our bucket gal gave me mostly free rein to do my job, on account of she seemed to know I’d done it previously, and I saw my job to be teachin Coors how to be a team. Meanin, how to listen to me. Comprende?
After a few false starts, and also some stops durin which Coors tried to walk around me, and thusly wrap me and the bucket gal up with his lead rope, we made our way down the trail, and around the County Island for an entire pointless pleasure ponyin trail ride.
First off, I highly doubt a horse can pull a person’s arm off. The bucket gal still had both her people-arms firmly attached to her body by the time we got back. To hear her tell it, though — and unfortunately, I got to hear her tell it — she said WE damned near pulled her arms off. I ain’t no part of that kinda we! That particular we was all Original Coors. I can’t help it if he walks too damned fast. I did my very best to hold him back and train him to keep the proper pace, holding the lead rope as tight as it could be between him and the bucket gal’s arm.
Seems like I made him slow down so much, and pulled on her poor, poor tiny people-arm so much, it bugged the bucket gal worse than a big ol’ bitin horsefly that leaves a welt on the soft spot on a horse’s nose, and that hurts a lot.
To this very day, I ain’t never had to pony him again — which was entirely not my intent, which y’all surely know if you know me at all, on account of I am an honest workin horse. But me and Coors is both cool with it. I guess we’re a team sometimes, after all.