On the morning of my seventh birthday, I remember rushing to my bedroom window to see if my parents had arranged for my very own pony to be delivered to our back garden. Of course there wasn’t one.
We lived in a tract home in the middle of a large, sprawling city, and even at seven I knew that ponies were expensive. Instead, my mother had left me a neatly wrapped Tiny Tears doll. I never told her about my disappointment, but I also never stopped secretly wishing I had a pony.
Every child dreams of owning their own pony, and my three daughters, ages six, seven, and eight (that is not a typo) are no exception. So we were very excited to try the “Own a Pony for the Day Experience” at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire.
The experience really started the week prior to our visit, when my six-year-old daughter told me that she dreamt her pony was going to be white with black spots. The girls spent the next week discussing the virtues of different pony sizes and colours and imagining what theirs would look like and what they would be called.
We showed up at the Equestrian Centre at Four Seasons Hotel Hampshire on a moist February Sunday morning. Jodi, a fully trained instructor, met the girls at the gate and took them in to fit them in riding boots and safety vests. Then they went out to meet the horses.
The first beauty they met was Toby, a traditional white Cob. Jodi showed the girls how to brush him to get off any dirt and showed them how to groom his sleek tail. Next they cleaned his hooves and painted his nails with wax. This got lots of giggles.
Jodi took them into the stables and they helped groom Minnie and Chocolate and then lead them out to pasture. You can’t own a horse without mucking in, and they learned how to clean out a horse’s stall. Afterwards they told me that it was disgusting, but that they kind of liked it.
They took a little break with some hot chocolate, and Jodi tested what they learned with a quiz. Then they got kitted out for the riding lesson and a hack around the estate. Of course, they didn’t ride on their own but were led around the grounds by two instructors.
Alexandra, my seven-year-old, fearlessly picked Toby, the largest horse, to ride. She looked tiny on top, like one of those decorations perched on top of a celebration cake.
My oldest, almost nine, established a great rapport with Guinness, the pony she had chosen to ride. By the end he was nuzzling her like an old school friend. Before we left, she insisted on a few private moments with him to say good-bye.
My youngest picked Ben to ride. She chose him “because he is small like me”. She was absolutely beaming. “This is my best day EVER, mummy. THE BEST”.
It was a fabulous day and it will be a top memory for me and my girls. We finally got to own a pony, even if it was just for a day.
The opinions presented in this post are unedited, entirely the bloggers own, and are not influenced in any way by compensation, monetary or otherwise. The experiences in this post were provided to the blogger free of charge by Four Seasons for the sole purpose of review.
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