Updated: Jul 18
Written by Markus
One Upset Pony
Tired of living in cities such as Singapore and Hong Kong, I’ve moved back to the EU, to the countryside. I now call my home a landed property, with views of a forest and farmland. Over 400m2 of space for the price of a 2 bedroom HDB that I now call my own, have re-enforced the feeling I should have done this a long time ago.
Having made this switch comes with surprises that one can only find in a small town.
Apparently the previous owners were an old couple that really loved animals, but did not, due to their age, own any animals themselves. So their strategy apparently was to love the animals in the neighborhood and neighboring farms. And one of these animals is a Shetland pony. A small horse of about 1.5 meters tall.
This Shetland pony, let’s call her Betty, visited the old couple daily and was, so I thought, rewarded with a snack, after what she would move to her next friend in the neighborhood. Little did I know what the relationship actually entailed.
So there I am, having moved into my house, suddenly confronted with a pony in my back garden, standing in front of the door of the second kitchen. Gently she turned her head passed the door and looked me straight in the eyes. As I was told “a horse” may pass by, I lovingly petted her head, gently pushed her back into the garden, closed the door and went on with my business.
Fast-forward two hours, done with my conference calls, I go to the main kitchen, made myself a sandwich and sat down in front the garden window with a glass of milk. And who is there, standing in the garden, staring through the window straight at me? It’s Betty, with her ears turned flat, meaning she is not happy. As I love animals as well, I decide to walk out to comfort her.
I open the door and immediately she pushes through, nudges me to the side and walks by me as if I am not there. She walks through the kitchen, through the dining area and turns around the corner into the living room. Somewhat surprised I slowly follow her to see where she might be heading to.
She sits down, half on my new couch, half squeezed between the table and the couch, in front of the TV, and puts her head on the coffee table. Her ears are turned up again, clearly showing she’s happy again.
I tried to convince her to go outside again by luring her with some food, by gently trying to lift her off the couch and even by talking to her. Whatever I tried, she looked at me with her big eyes but had clearly no intention of leaving.
At that time my laptop started ringing with an incoming conference call, so I headed to my office and left Betty in the living room.
Halfway the call, Betty pushed open my office door, looked at me, moved her head a bit as if she said “thank you” and walked off again. After my call I went to check Betty and she has left. I figured out she actually came to say goodbye for the day.
This repeated the next day, but with one difference: I now sit next to her on the couch, while she gently rests her head next to my legs. And every day, after about 30 minutes, she gets up by herself and leaves, with her ears pointed up, careful not to walk into the newly placed furniture. This is now my favorite moment and anchor rest point in the middle of the day.
So that’s the routine that this little horse had for more than 10 years and has no intention of changing, even though the house now has a new human. And I’m happy to give her the assurance that this is not a problem. Sweet little Betty.