By Johanna Wilson, HSNT Equine Division
Ponies are serious horses packaged in whimsy. There is none so mighty in spirit as Speedbump.You might wonder how a pony comes by such a peculiar name as Speedbump. He earned it.
One day this little paint stallion scooted under his pasture fence to see where the road would lead him. Not very far. In fact, the road led him right beneath a truck. When his rescue mom got the call to help get a dog out from beneath a truck, there he lay. She took him, got him patched up and adopted him herself. She was explaining the accident to her little granddaughter Matti, when the child had the light bulb moment. “Oh, you mean like a speed bump?” The name stuck. It was perfect.
For a while Speedbump stayed at a mustang sanctuary his rescue mom volunteered at. How he loved being with the big mustangs. Although his rescue mom had him gelded, he still thought of himself as a stallion. He had all but convinced the other horses he was a mighty mustang stallion, or at least he had convinced himself that was what the others thought he was!
One day his rescue mom loaded him up and took him to another rescue that she worked at. To Speedbumps surprise, there were other mini ponies there. Although he missed his mustang friends, Speedbump was filled with a sense of responsibility toward the other ponies. There was Scout, who had healed from a leg injury; Midge who was a dwarf and had knock knees on her back legs; there was Butterscotch who had been in a fire; and finally there was Trixie. Trixie was a bay mini mare with the longest black mane he had ever seen! She batted her beautiful brown eyes at Speedbump and he felt a little taller, a might mightier. He was home and he was needed. There is nothing more any pony could ask for.
The days turned into weeks, and the seasons came and went. There was always horses that passed through the rescue. Occasionally a new pony would come and join the group until someone with a trailer would come and adopt them. The five ponies were always together and Speedbump always took care of them.
Oftentimes the ponies were allowed on the lawn to eat the sweet Bermuda and wander where they pleased. At night the rescue ladies would open their gate and let all the ponies in their paddock. One such day, Speedbump and his friends were enjoying the yard when a truck came into the barnyard. The rescue ladies sometimes would have friends visit and these teenagers seemed to know their way around. They asked if they could ride some horses. They saddled up some good riding horses. Speedbump had seen them ride people around before. Then they asked if they could ride a horse called Sadie. The rescue ladies said yes. But the teenagers did not halter Sadie. Speedbump tried to get their attention. He whinnied and ran fast around the yard. No one would listen! The teenagers haltered a mare called Arrow. Arrow was not a nice riding mare. She was not ready to trust people yet. She had been running free for a very long time without rules or contact with people. She had just started bonding with a family who were adopting her and giving her a home. She was not ready to ride!
One of the boys put a saddle on Arrows back. Speedbump and his friends all lined up to see what would happen. The second the boy reached down, Arrows head went straight up. The cinch tightened and all kinds of things broke loose! Arrow went into the air making a perfect horse shoe shape. She bucked. She bucked some more. She proceeded to buck around the house three times. Then she continued to buck toward the middle paddock. By then the rescue ladies saw what had happened. One of them opened a paddock gate and Arrow bucked into the paddock. Finally they were able to stop her and take her saddle off. The rescues ladies exclaimed, “That’s not Sadie! That’s Arrow! She hasn’t been rode in fourteen years!”
There was a bit of a laugh and the teenagers got mounted and went for a quick ride out onto the four hundred acres behind the rescue barn. They had to make their way down an alley between two pastures to get to the four hundred acres. At the end of the alley was a double gate with a chain latch. The teenagers in their haste did not shut the gate behind them. No one noticed. No one except Speedbump that is.
When the sun was getting low the rescue ladies called all the sweet ponies into their paddock. The rescue ladies often referred to the group as the sweet ponies. Speedbump was mildly annoyed at the term, but he tolerated it for he knew it was meant with the kindest affection. Tonight as the rescue ladies called each name, “Speedbump, Scout, Midge, Trixie, Butterscotch” The only pony that came was little Butterscotch. The others, led by Speedbump, started to run! They ran around the house to the back, down the alley and into the four hundred acres! The whole ranch was in a tizzy. One rescue lady jumped on Henry, the thoroughbred rescue, and quickly followed in suit. Then the others hurriedly climbed into the old farm truck and drove as fast as they could.
Speedbump and his gang had made it several acres across and were heading toward the railroad tract to the west. It was dark by now and the rescue ladies were afraid for the ponies. The land was thick with coyotes and bordered by a rail road track and a major highway. Henry finally caught up and began to herd the renegade ponies back toward the alley way. The old farm truck flanked in from the south to ensure the ponies would turn north bound into the alley way. When the ponies finally turned into the alley and headed toward the barnyard, all the rescue ladies sighed from relief.
Just as all the sweet ponies were put securely in their pony paddock, the teenagers came home to some very cranky rescue ladies. Even Henry gave a scolding look to the group of kids. After a ranch etiquette lecture on “If a gate is closed, you close it back” from the rescue ladies; and a lengthy, “We are so sorry” from the teenagers, Speedbump found his favorite spot under a big round bale. He snuggled in deep into the soft hay and closed his eyes, content to be a wild mustang stallion running through the pastures again.
A Note from the Author
The pony stories are based on real events from real ponies that live at my ranch. I house the adoption site 3 for Humane Society of North Texas there and all of these ponies have come to me through this rescue. Speedbump and Trixie are still together, though up in age, they are in a home of their very own now. All the new rescues coming in started having an effect on Trixie’s immune system, so it was better for her to live in a home with limited contact with other horses. And of course, Speedbump had to follow her there as they are a true love story. There are other ponies, new ponies, that have come in and many other pony stories!