I’ve always ridden at the same riding school and have the same routine every Saturday morning. I get up and dressed, then walk to meet Alice, my best friend, and we head to the yard together to meet our other really good friend, Millie.
None of us have our own pony, so while we’re helping out with the yard chores we always imagine what our dream pony would be like. There was a pact that if one of us was lucky enough to get our own pony, we’d let the others ride him once a week.
It always seemed like a great plan. That was until I was the first of the three of us to get a pony of my own, and I definitely didn’t want to share him.
The new arrival
“Everyone, meet Cheddar!” I announced proudly, as he was unloaded out of the trailer and into his new stable. Alice, Millie and I all set about fussing over him and making sure he had everything he needed to settle in.
The first few months of owning Cheddar were great. I was so excited to get to know him properly and try out loads of new things. I was super-busy having regular lessons with my instructor and I’d got to know the other girls on the yard with their own ponies, so started going out hacking with them instead of doing chores with Millie and Alice.
I could tell they were getting frustrated – I was never there to help out with the yard chores and they weren’t able to ride as much as me. I felt bad, but I was just so excited to finally have a pony of my own.
I arrived at the yard early one day to muck out Cheddar before my lesson. When Alice arrived, she headed straight towards me and I could tell she was upset.
“Why didn’t you walk up with me?” she asked, folding her arms. “Oh… well I have a lesson booked in, so I thought I’d come up early to muck out,” I stammered.
Alice didn’t look convinced. “Well have a good lesson, anyway,” she replied, “then maybe tomorrow you could give me and Millie a mini lesson on Cheddar? We’d love to ride him!” Guiltily, I responded: “Tomorrow I’ve already arranged to go on a hack with Sarah – she owns Mojo.”
“Maybe next weekend then?” Alice asked, hopefully.
“Next weekend I’m actually taking him to a clinic to prepare for our first competition, so I’d rather it was just me riding him really.”
“Oh. Okay. Don’t worry, then, I understand. I’d better start mucking out the others anyway.” She turned away quickly, but not before I noticed her eyes welling up.
As I tacked up for my lesson, I couldn’t help but feel really guilty about what had happened. Alice was my best friend! Although I thought I wasn’t doing anything wrong by focusing on my new pony, I realised I hadn’t been kind by shutting my friends out. We’d always been there to help each other and now I’d turned my back on them. I was determined to put things right.
The next morning, I got up even earlier than I had the day before. I groomed Cheddar, then jogged back down the lane to knock on Alice’s door.
“What are you doing here? I thought you were hacking with Sarah?” she asked, surprised. “I cancelled it. It’s time for you and Millie to ride Cheddar today! Get your riding hat!”
When Millie arrived at the yard, she grinned when she saw Alice standing by the mounting block with Cheddar. “Well it’s about time!” she exclaimed, “I thought you’d forgotten all about our pact!”
“I’m so sorry, Millie. But it’s time to make up for it! How do you fancy riding Cheddar after Alice?”
A lesson learnt
I feel like a weight’s been lifted off my shoulders now I’m friends with Alice and Millie again. It’s so much more fun doing things together and once a week they have a play with Cheddar in the school. He loves the attention and in return they help me out when I take him to shows. I have the best friends – and the best pony!