Aly Werth, C-1 Traditional, C-2 Flat member of Hybid Farm Pony Club Riding Center in the Central New England Region sent in her Flash Award submissions about a couple of fantastic horses from her riding center. Her story about Tuck Everlasting “Tucker” was the eventual winner of the Flash Award, but this, her second story about a special horse, Poco Blue “Poco” shows us just how special school horses are. Read along as Aly shares Poco’s story:
I always describe her uncommon blue roan coat as cookies and cream ice cream to kids. Now, as I sit down to write about her I realize that the oreo cookie provides an excellent metaphor for what Poco has meant to our Pony Club. Growing up is hard, learning to ride is hard, middle school is hard, high school is hard, overcoming challenges is hard, pushing through fear is hard, friendships and relationships are hard. For our Pony Club Poco has been the soft, sweet, and (maybe a little bit) squishy filling that has helped hold everything together for so many kids since she came to our barn in 2004 and our Pony Club started in 2006.
I started riding with my sisters when I was 10 at a summer camp at the barn that later became my Pony Club riding center. I was never the kid that wanted to run faster or jump higher. I don’t take a lot of risks and because of that my sisters seemed to run in circles around me for my first year or two at the barn. It was frustrating, but I wanted it, I wanted it badly. My sisters both lost interest over the years (one because other sports took center stage and one because she realized dirt wasn’t really her thing), but I plugged on at my own pace until I hit a few snags. In my D-3 certification my horse got a bit overexcited on cross country and ran off bucking until she slipped and fell. When that happened I got scared, scared of riding around turns, scared of riding in the open, scared of unfamiliar horses, scared of riding on grass, scared of taking any sort of risk (even more so than before). A lot of me wanted to quit and not look back, but I couldn’t, even with the fear I still wanted it. Enter Poco. Riding Poco was like medicine you didn’t even know you were taking. Getting through it didn’t happen in one day but she fixed me, overtime in her own special way.
Objectively I can tell you that today Poco is a 26 year old 14.2 hand appaloosa mare. Average in many ways. To me, (and to the riders at Hybid Farm Riding Center) she is anything but average. Our center administrator bought Poco in 1994 as a four year old from a field of cows for her 10 year old son to use in Pony Club and 4H. (Now I know many of you probably just internally cringed because stories like that never seem to end well, but she was the exception.) When her son got older Poco came to our riding center. I don’t even know how to begin to describe her. She’s smart, opinionated, level-headed, sassy, exceptionally reliable, safe, and fun. She can be frustrating because she makes you ride correctly (to date she’s the only horse I have ever seen run out of a trot pole, but I am sure she wanted to make sure her rider knew they weren’t straight) but safe even when you don’t. She can be ridiculously lazy or a fierce games mount that leaves you wondering why you can’t stop a pony you would trust with an infant.
My story is far from unique, in fact I feel like it’s hard to find someone that has ridden for any length of time that hasn’t struggled with fear or other challenges from time to time. She builds your confidence without allowing you to grow an ego. She takes care of you without allowing you to become a passenger. She helps you to succeed without feeling like you didn’t earn every step. And now, as we look back at the 12 years Poco has been at our barn we find it impossible to count the people whose lives she has touched. The role she has played for so many people in their riding careers leaves me struggling to find the words to express to you how amazing this pony has been for me and so many others is not something you can put into words.
In an attempt to get the world to understand this amazing pony, our riding center gathered our video clips and photos of her and the years since she’s been the glue to our oreo and put them together in a video tribute to Poco. Visit the video Here . We hope that you love her as much as we do.
As I sit here finishing this I know that from now and until forever, every time in unmounted that I describe blue roan coats as cookies and cream ice cream I will be reminded of Poco and how much I (and so many others) owe her and the fact that sometimes the most amazing things come in less than amazing packages (out of a field of cows).