My first horse was a Shetland pony. She belonged to my uncle and I would ride her each time I visited. They had many animals in their yard, geese, ducks, chickens, goats, ponies, etc. I started riding her when I was 3 years old. They were a few towns away, though we didn’t get there often enough! Her name was Cookie, pronounced Kooky. She was a deep red chestnut/sorrel with a thick coat.

When I was 8 years old my uncle gave me Cookie. I was so excited. My father and I went to pick her up, however we didn’t have a horse trailer. We put Cookie in the back seat of our carryall, today it would be called a full size suburban – but it only had 3 doors, like the older minivans. We had about 4 exits to go west on the Long Island Expressway. Cookie was perfect in the back seat, I sat next to her holding her lead. At one point she stuck her head out the window like a dog and the reactions of the other drivers was something I will never forget. Gladly, there were no accidents.

When we got Cookie home, my father took a picture of me holding her lead rope. The picture, which I hope I can find was the part that was the funniest. I was an overweight child with a heavy inner thigh and tiny calves. Cookie and I stood for the picture and it captured that we had the same legs. Her front legs came straight to her carpus, from there they splayed away from the center line. My legs came straight to my knees and from my knee down I splayed. We had the same legs! Cookie was my first of many wonderful horses, though being a spoiled rotten Shetland pony, she confirmed the stereotypes at times, and at others she shattered them.

by Kim Wilson, LVT, CABC, CPDT-KA