All of our ponies were trained and rehabilitated here at our base in Leeds. Many of them had behavioural and health problems of their own on arrival. They are now living happy lives and helping children to overcome their own mental, emotional and physical difficulties. Read their stories below.
When I came to Think Like a Pony, things were different here. Calmer, slower and easier to make sense of. My confidence grew, which made me braver and happier. I am now a very experienced pony and enjoy helping nervous riders find their confidence, just like I found mine.
I was very much loved before I came to Think Like a Pony, but I did not respect my owner. I would often bully or intimidate humans to get my own way. I am very beautiful and cuddly, but I am also very strong-willed. At Think Like a Pony they help me to understand that to be loveable, I have to respect humans. I now understand that it is ok to be strong willed but not in an intimidating or dangerous way. Now my life is full of lots of young people who love me and are not afraid of me and life is getting better every day. There is a great future ahead of me.
Me and Woody came to Think Like a Pony together - we are brothers! We’d had a owner who loved us very much but she was not well and couldn’t care for us. I have always loved to be around human beings but sometimes I found it hard to understand them, which I found stressful. On some yards, they might have called me a stubborn pony. I became withdrawn and very sad. When anything was asked of me, I would panic and pull away. You won’t believe this but sometimes I even knocked down fences to get away from people! At Think Like a Pony they saw I was just a little worried. Now all that has changed. My life is now full of positive experiences and new friends. I feel a lot stronger and able to help young people because they listen to me. They understand what I want and care about my feelings. Now I can be myself.
Before I came to Think Like a Pony, I was a very large pony. Almost twice the size I am now! That was because I would only behave if I was given treats and food. Even then, I was difficult to handle, unwilling to cooperate and used my weight to get what I wanted. I was very good at barging my way through things. Now I have lost so much weight, I feel like a new pony, and I look like one too! Although my unhealthy lifestyle has left me with a heart murmur, the Think Like a Pony Team keep me fit and motivated to enjoy work and life. I am able to give confidence and support to those children who need a steady pony.
I arrived at Think Like a Pony because both my owners and I were in desperate need of Lynn’s help! I was tense, explosive, spooky and would throw in bucks, run away or refuse to go forward. Yes, I had all the moves! I was a very uncomfortable pony and I had lost trust in people. My little rider refused to come anywhere near me, afraid I might catapult her through the air! Well, look at me now! I am completely rehabilitated and enjoying my work. My owners have now given me to Think Like a Pony and I am enjoying my life here. One of the best things about Think Like a Pony is that they want the best for me too. I am no longer afraid to wear my saddle and bridle. My teeth, feet and back are in top condition. I have met many lovely children who enjoy their time with me. I enjoy my time with them too, and the pony friends I have made.
I didn’t have the best start in life. No one was cruel to me, but I was unhappy in my situation. I am easy going, but very sensitive. I often felt I could not express myself, because no one listened to me. At Think Like a Pony, I learned to be free and understand how my body could move. I now feel strong, brave and I am learning to communicate my feelings to my human friends. I enjoy being ridden by the Think Like a Pony students, because it makes me feel relaxed and supple.
Before I came to Think Like a Pony some people said that I was silly and spooky. They said I was a fidget because I found it hard to stand stil, but my body was hurting so much that I did not want to stand still. I felt out of sorts and I could not think straight. So, everything around me made me feel afraid and worried. When I arrived at Think Like a Pony, I was only 3-years-old. For the first time I felt that someone understood me, and they could see my pain and discomfort. It has been a long journey to recovery, and I can still have bad days, but here at Think Like a Pony there is always someone to help me feel better.
Before I arrived at Think Like a Pony, I was very tense and always ready to run at the slightest noise or movement. I could not breathe properly because I was so stressed. Some people said that I sounded more like a piglet than a pony! I can still get anxious, but every day I am getting more confident, and I am able to relax. I especially enjoy my time with the children, being massaged, groomed and, more than anything, I love to be ridden. That’s when I get to show off my beautiful paces.
Before I came to live at Think Like a Pony my name was Tricky. That was because everyone found me tricky to deal with. I was sharp to handle, difficult to stop and scared of everything. Here at Think Like a Pony they helped me to think and not react. I became a calm and responsive pony - no longer tricky. I love my new name, because inside I am just a cuddly teddy bear and I love to be loved.
Coming to Think Like a Pony was a big step in my life. My previous owners did love me and care for me, but I needed to learn how to be respectful and easier to handle and ride. It was time for me to start my training! I came to Think Like a Pony with my laid-back nature which makes me so lovable! However, I didn’t realise that I had become a bit of a bully, throwing my weight around and demanding my own way! Lynn said it was because of my lovable character that I got away with pushing people and horses around! If I wanted something, I just went and took it. It didn’t occur to me that this was not acceptable behaviour. Here at Think Like a Pony I soon learned that my behaviour was not going to win me friends and help me to influence people! After several months I became a respected and trusted member of the herd. This is because I know what is acceptable behaviour and this has helped me to make friends, not only with the herd but also with the children here at Think Like a Pony.
When I first arrived at Think Like a Pony, I was wild and woolly. Woolly in my winter coat and wild in my approach to life. I was pushy and demanding. I wouldn’t eat my hard feed from a bucket without kicking it over. I trashed the water bucket every time it was filled, and I tried to barge my way in and out of gates. I didn’t want to do anything unless it was on my terms. When Lynn started my training, I realised that I had met my match. I came to understand that I was uncoordinated and rushed everywhere. I was strong, but not athletic. I soon learned to move slowly and in rhythm. This helped me to become more flexible. I began to feel better in myself and started to enjoy my journey to become a ridden pony. I know that I have a long way to go, but I am already a big part of the Youth Development Programme. I have wonderful students; I feel respected and loved and I know that I have a forever home here at Think Like a Pony.