If you know me, I’m your average horse-crazy, teenaged girl. You’d probably know that I volunteer at a therapeutic riding center and I have a horse of my own. And that my room is decorated with horse pictures, paintings I painted myself, model horses decorate my shelves that are full of horse books.
Since I was old enough to know what a horse was, I’ve been asking for one. I’d doodle my dream horse every chance I would get, read stacks of horse books at a time and wait for my Back In The Saddle catalogs to come in the mail.
I started riding lessons when I was 6-years-old and rode for about a year. I rode English for six months and Western for the rest of the year. My lesson horse was a 15.2 hand mare by the name of Cheyenne. She was my favorite horse in the whole world! I would spend one morning out of my week riding and grooming the gigantic mare. But unfortunately, my riding instructor moved away to college, so I couldn’t have lessons anymore.
The only time I would really get to ride was when we would go to the petting zoo and I didn’t have full control of the horse. I would only get to sit in the saddle and hold onto the horn. One time, I tried to convince the lady giving pony rides that if she gave me the lead rope, I could ride myself and she could have a break. Needless to say, it didn’t work.
For a while, I had given up hope that I’d ever get a horse and my interest in them dwindled down. I still loved them and got excited every time I saw one, but I didn’t read as much about them or bother to do as much research as I used to.
Last year in August, my pap was talking about going to the barn to start volunteering. We had discussed this before and had even gone up to visit one day. I was full of excitement, because I couldn’t wait to get to handle the horses! I hadn’t handled one in years and I was quite nervous. When we got there to get a tour of the barn, we found out that I was just a couple of weeks off the cut-off age to volunteer.
We came back in September of last year, just a few days after my birthday. I was finally old enough to volunteer! It seemed like my birthday took forever last year just because I couldn’t volunteer. The next week, we were to be there for volunteer orientation.
A couple of weeks after orientation, we were official volunteers. I learned all of my horse skills at the barn from blanketing, to learning how to give a horse their medication. I learned how to treat an abscess and I’ve even gotten to watch in on some of the lessons whenever the work was almost finished.
After a few months of volunteering, I figured out what I wanted to do when I get older. I plan on working as a therapeutic riding instructor and have my own farm. I want to teach troubled kids and individuals with special needs about agriculture and horses.
It was a cold, December night at the barn. One of the girls who work there and I were sweeping the barn floor by the arena. There were still two more lessons and we had all of the barn chores done but sweeping. We decided to watch a little bit of the lesson, since all of the horses were in that night because it was cold and snowy.
She turned to me and said, “You know, Alayna, Miss Lin is planning on selling Neville in the spring. You should really ask about him.”
I had just convinced my parents to allow me to get a Miniature Horse and this was the perfect opportunity. Neville and I had already known each other for a little while and had gotten along just fine.
I went home and told my parents about Neville possibly being for sale. Mom messaged Miss Lin that night and Neville was, in fact, going to be for sale. We ended up going to meet Miss Lin about him the Wednesday morning after my mom messaged her.
December 9th, 2015 was a chilly, Wednesday morning, not a snowflake in sight. We drove down the gravel road leading towards the barn. My heart raced with excitement as the car got closer to the barn. Neville could be mine! He really could be mine!
We stepped into the warm office to meet Miss Lin for the first time. Neville was waiting for us patiently in his stall while we talked. We made our way into the very cold barn. The door creaked its usual creak, followed by the whinny of a certain little pony. Smiles were spread like wildfire after Neville whinnied. We walked towards the end of the stalls, where the small horse patiently waited.
After I was given the OK to take him out and halter him, we made our way outside for a small walk. Neville nipped at the green grass outside of the hay barn as Mom and Miss Lin discussed different things about him.
We walked inside of the hay barn and Neville found his Heaven. He ate the loose hay on the ground like he hadn’t ever been fed, but you could tell he has just by looking at the fat pony. Miss Lin showed us the pony cart, then it was back to the arena.
Neville was a pretty happy boy by then. He found his new escape route destination (the hay barn) and got to go on a walk. When we stepped inside the arena, he knew he was in work mode. My little brother, Alex, walked alongside me and Neville, my sister following not too far behind. We walked around like this for several laps until we were able to let him off his lead rope. The first thing he did was roll in the arena dirt, then he followed me around for quite sometime.
My Grammy and Pap gave me $100 for Neville as part of my Christmas. We ended up paying $100 down on him right then and there. Neville was mine! He was actually going to be mine!
On January 20th, 2016, we spent our usual Wednesday morning there after my weekly violin lesson. I was just full of excitement as we walked in. It was finally going to be the day when I paid Neville off and he would be all mine. I had two-hundred dollars in my pocket, ready to pay him off. I handed Miss Lin the money and signed my first bill-of-sale. She gave me his temporary registration certificate and I had full access to his binder with his medical records, papers, etc.
Neville was mine! He was officially mine!
We started to clear trees for a field for when Neville would come home in April. We cleared a lot of trees and dragged brush for hours every time we would get a chance we’d get. Eventually, we had it all done and ready for the pony to come home.
April 20th, 2016 was the day Neville finally would come home to live with us. Neville came home safe and sound, as happy as a little pony could be. When I let him off his lead rope, the first thing he did was roll in the dusty field. He was happy and so was I.
I finally had a horse of my own! I finally had a horse I could call mine!
All you could really do is pray about it, and if it’s God’s will, it’ll happen. I prayed about a horse of my own and Neville came along shortly after. Just pray about it and let God handle it.
Neville is the absolute best pony in the world and I adore him!