True stories with a twist!



It began with the family traveling to Gettysburg. The children would be studying the Civil War at school soon, and the trip would be educational as well as scenic and relaxing.

We hit the road for the two hour car trip to Gettysburg, took a short break for a quick lunch and geared up to recreate Pickett’s Charge. We rented some audio guides, which turned out to be quite graphic. They did everything they could to make the scene come alive with war-like noises and sounds. Shouts of men, neighing of horses, and cacophonies of guns blasting came through our earphones. With a little imagination we could see the battle scene playing out all around us.

After the emotional experience of war we wanted to see a different part of life in Gettysburg. The part dealing with peace. A sign pointing to a miniature horse farm showed us the perfect place to go. “Let’s go to the farm and see some tiny horses,” we said. So we turned off the road, bumping and jostling along the dirt path to the farm.

A small corral enclosing a group of small unsaddled creatures stood before our eyes. The animals resembled ponies, but they were full grown real horses. When we parked the car and got closer to them we saw how adorable they really were. We saw little palominos, chestnuts and bays, with the biggest eyes and longest eyelashes we ever saw. Some of them had braided tails, and one even had ribbons strung through her mane.

Miniature horses, we were told, are perfectly proportioned to a standard sized horse and retain all the characteristics of horses. They are not ponies. But having been told that fact, if I were viewing an equine police line up, trying to pick out the miniature horse from the pony, probably the wrong creature would be charged, tried and convicted.

“Oh, mommy, these are the cutest animals. Can we buy one? Can we take one home? Please, please?”

Did I happen to mention anything about poor impulse control or that we decided to buy a horse?

We did not live on a farm. We did not own a large piece of land. We did not own a barn. We knew nothing about raising horses, ponies or venture capital.


We arranged to have our new miniature horse delivered to our house in a horse trailer. We lived in a residential area with all of 1/4 acre of land. The tool shed would become the animal’s stable. Out with the rakes, shovels and plant fertilizers, in with the hay, saddle and tack equipment. And hoof pick, water bucket, and curry brush. The children, as they promised, took turns feeding him, bringing fresh water for him and mucking out the stable. During this time I finally understood the meaning of the expression, “He eats like a horse.”  I always thought it meant that  “he” overate. After watching our horse, I realized that horses never stop eating, from the moment they wake up to the time they go to sleep.

A young woman who worked at a nearby horse farm agreed to give the children riding lessons. Our property abutted a private elementary school with a creek separating our property from the school’s playing field. With the addition of a narrow plank bridge the width of a miniature horse and three miniature people, access to the field was easy.

Did our town’s residential property laws permit horse ownership?  Nobody else in our neighborhood housed a horse. Were we permitted to ride a horse on the private property of a school? I never thought to ask.

At the beginning it was fun having our little palomino living with us. He was gentle, friendly, and patient. And the children were living up to their part of the bargain.  At the beginning.

As children are known to do, they grew at a startling rate and after a few months of riding blissfully around the field, feeling like cowboys riding the range, we were confronted  with, “I can’t ride any more. My feet touch the ground when I sit in the saddle.”  In child’s logic, “Why take care of an animal if you can’t have fun with him any more?” We conceded and decided to call the horse farm and arrange for the trailer to pick him up. Our great adventure with living the equine life in suburbia ended. I never found out if we should have been prosecuted for laws of inappropriate occupancy. I can tell this story now that the Statute of Limitations has expired.

But I hope our children will keep the memories and fantasies they had of the wild days riding the range.

Comments on: "HI HO SILVER" (32)

  1. I remember going to that same horse farm. There was an indoor show and one of the horses had been trained to solve math problems. We didn’t go home with a new pet, though. What (if anything) did the neighbors say?

  2. Ronnie, I am sure your Children will Always keep those wonderful Pony ride memories..
    I learnt to ride as a child .. but didnt own a horse.. and Dads pocket money didnt always stretch to those riding lessons, .. I lived in a small village where many of my school friends owned horses.. And I would run around after them waiting for a them to allow me to ride their ponies when the riding stable money from dad ran out.. So I KNOW they will treasure these memories.
    Hugs for jogging my own childhood ones.. 🙂 Xxx Sue

  3. Food Stories said:

    I love history … Bet this trip was the best 🙂

  4. I loved this story Ronnie! Going to learn about the civil war and coming home with a miniature horse is about the coolest thing I’ve ever heard. And look at that little guy (or gal)! Oh what wonderful fun! I gotta say it would be tad boring riding a horse in which ones feet drug on the ground. Chances are you wouldn’t get bucked off though! I hope you’ll write a story one day explaining just exactly what the horse and pony did to end up in a police line up! HA HA! 😀

  5. onlinefunland said:

    Sweet !
    Nice Post !

  6. I absolutely love love love you.. my kids would have loved you too.. a horsey! you brought home a horsey! now about that tool shed, .. how about a little piggy. her name is charlotte and the photo of her i am putting on my page tomorrow will surely make you want to bring her home too.. she needs to live with you, maybe you can bring your horsey back to be her friend! yeah? (laughter)//c

  7. Wow! Talk about an impulse buy. Thanks for sharing a really sweet story, Ronnie.

  8. Love the story and the photo, but I made the mistake of showing my 11-year-old who quickly responded, “I want one!”

  9. Anonymous said:

    What a beautiful story and what wonderful parents to buy the minature horse. Three very lucky little rangers!

  10. How lucky your children were!!!! Love the picture. So nice to be able to go back to such beautiful memories.

  11. you gave your children a priceless experience, horses are fantastic creatures to be loved by. 🙂

  12. Wow! You’re just lucky that you didn’t visit a lion safari farm! Wonder what the neighbors would have said to you housing that pet in your shed? LOL…great story!

  13. You must be braver than me. I love horses, but then again I really did live on a farm. Go for the home of the brave. T

  14. Hi,
    I love miniature horses they are just so gorgeous, how lucky you were to have had one, and what a shame he had to leave you, still I bet everyone looks back on those days with very fond memories. 🙂

  15. Judy Berman said:

    I envy you that you had a horse. We had 66 acres when I was a teen, but no horse. I lucked out. Two of my friends did have a horse. I walked a mile to their houses to ride their horses and enjoyed every minute of it. Best of all, I didn’t have to clean up after the horses. Thanks for sharing the story.

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