Published in Kink-E Magazine, Summer 2007
©2004, 2007 Lee Harrington
A Pony Away
A true story of Human Equine Play
By Lee “Bridgett” Harrington
When I arrived at Leather Retreat on Thursday afternoon, unloading roller bags of rope and toys, I eyed the ponies being dressed into their tack. Beautiful mares and stallions, young and old, some in corsets and heels, others in jeans and tank tops, leather straps crossing their faces, harnesses pulled around their torsos, the occasional whiney or grunt. I eyed them and shook my head, and continued pulling bags into the cabin, trying to put the desire to be amongst them out of my head.
I had flown for 8 hours from Portland, Oregon all the way to Maryland for the event, and the whole way had hauled my Kaysers pony boots with me. In the back of my head I was daring myself to go join pony camp, but the excuse I gave was that I had a photo shoot as a demon I was going to be doing in DC, and that I was still talking with the folks at House of Gord to do a pony photo shoot with them on my way home from my trip to the East Coast. I never actually expected to become part of pony camp though, let alone have it be one of my most inspirational weekends in the 8 years I’d been involved with the alternative sexuality community at that point. Now, almost four years later, the story still inspires me, and I hope it titillates and touches you as well.
The sun had peeked out from behind the clouds as I threw on a short dress and coat and headed over to watch the ponies and their trainers. Young Toltec was pulling a cart, beautiful stud of a horse, his red-blonde hair pulled up high and his jean shorts framing his ass well. His eyes were focused as he was strapped in, arms strong as he pulled a beautiful woman up the hill, still muddy from the rains the night before. To his side ponies I’d seen in the magazines were being brushed down and prepped to pull a six-pony cart- ponies like Solitaire, Gypsy Mist, SpellBound, Sierra…
I knew Trigger, the Human Equine, was going to be there Friday. We’d met in DC a few months back during a pantyhose fetish shoot, along with pony Mischief from DC and her owner. It was with the three of them that I’d seen the rough cut for a video they’d been part of about the pony scene on the East Coast- and here I was meeting the ponies I’d seen on the film- Red Hot Pony (minus his roller blades) and so many others.
It was like walking into a dream… and then came out Buck. Buck is the owner of WaterHole Productions, and not only does he make some of the best pony tack out there, he’s also one of the best known Stallions in the Human Pony scene. His gray beard was trimmed tight as he pulled his black cowboy hat over his head and adjusted a high leather boot, then went over to wipe down one of the ponies. It was like walking into a dream- but that’s all it was- a dream.
It wasn’t just the ponies either- it was the variety of trainers there too. Big men with loud laughs from the Midwest, charismatic women from the south, lithe young women who were once fillies but fell for the other side of the lead. One of the trainers that grabbed my attention the most was a bald-headed and tattooed gentleman in a wheelchair from the North Central area whose chair had been converted into a cart for a filly named Golden Pony to pull. Her long blonde hair was pulled back into a tight tail, and her black corset framed her form perfectly… but his eyes were huge, happy, amazed. I later found out that his name was Erich M, and that he’d always dreamed about having human ponies- but this was his first time being hitched up to human ponies in his new rig.
As I watched the two of them head up the hill I laughed- they hadn’t perfected the rig yet, and her height and high gait made his chair dip far back, his eyes almost facing the sky, as her strong arms pulled him up the muddy terrain. He’d later perfect his cart so it wouldn’t have that problem… but for that time, it was hilarious to watch. But he didn’t care- he was just happy to be there.
As I’d been hanging out around pony camp for about an hour by this time, a few of the pony trainers and ponies started talking with me… did I want to give my hand at being a trainer? Did I have any experience with human ponies?
That’s when the confession came out- I’d been a human puppy and pony on and off for years in the privacy of my own home, and a few times when my partner and I were art events like BurningMan… but I’d never been part of an event like this. Nor did I expect to. Why? Well, when Lady comes out, my human self vanishes- and I didn’t know anyone at Leather Retreat.
Lady is a Morgan, a strong willful pony who is better suited for tasks than show. Lady gets confused around loud groups of people. Lady gets scared. Lady loves grapes, loves showing off for those she claims as hers, loves cold water on a hot day and loves to flirt with the stallions and fillies alike. Even if she is a bit shy, and quiet at times.
As I was talking with the person beside me, explaining that I didn’t want to go into pony mode without a trainer who I knew could handle, well, a horse. I’d had a few negative experiences in the past with folks who though pony training meant a girl in a pony outfit who wanted to be beaten. They didn’t understand. You don’t beat a horse, especially when they haven’t done anything wrong. When I’m a pony, I’m just that, a pony. Same applies when I do puppy play- I’m a Husky, not a girl with a butt plug that has a tail coming out of it.
Out of the corner of my eye I saw Gypsy Mist. Beautiful Gypsy Mist with her long red mane and tail. Beautiful Gypsy Mist with her tack crossing her nose… and she was trying to get my attention. She stomped her left hoof against the ground and threw her head up to her right, up at her trainer and owner, Sir Gary. She threw her head back and let out a whiney, left hoof stomping against the ground again, and I understood. Ten minutes later Sir Gary and I were having a conversation about pony head space, pony play vs. SM, desires, willfulness… and 30 minutes later I had my hooves, corset and loincloth in hand was getting into tack.
Each layer of my tack I put on, I let go of a layer of my human self. As I pull my long auburn hair back into a pony tail, I remind myself that I don’t need to worry about checking my email, doing human work, or finding out where I need to be next. I let go of human obligation. As I pull my under bust corset around my torso, and lace it tight, I remind myself of transformation. I let go of a human body and sculpt it into what I want to become, something better than human, and something more majestic. As I pull my knee-length loincloth around my waist, buckling it into place, I smell the leather, feel the suede against my flesh, and remind myself that that is what my skin is, something thicker… that water rolls off the backs of horses better. It reminds me to let go of some of my ego, to not worry about what someone I don’t know cares about, to focus on those that matter- my trainers, my owner, myself.
Then I unlaced the boots. I and my partner acquired our boots about 2 years ago from Kaysers in Australia. He does theatre and one of his favorite characters is a Satyr. I enjoyed being a human pony. We happen to have the same shoe size- men’s 9 ½. We split the cost of the hooves and had them custom ordered. The challenge with Kaysers boots is that they have no heel at all, and have a very high incline. As a fetish model in my day life, I’m used to wearing high heels… but having it shod with a metal shoe at the base, it makes balance when not moving challenging, and going downhill on concrete incredibly stressful due to a lack of traction. But when you’re in them on grass, or hay, or pulling carts around a ring or up a hill… they feel divine.
As I slipped my foot into the hoof form, pulling the leather tight around my ankle and calf, I let go of my gypsy need to be on the move. My need to go go go. I let the moment take precedence over the future. The boots also cover my brandings, and in doing so, they take away my reminder of my human markings of a life that’s been hard, and transform me into the young life I lead as a horse… a young Morgan still exploring the possibilities the world has to offer her. The sensuality of the leather and satin pulling from foot to breasts washes over me and I close me eyes, and open them with more calm, more composure, and more desire to live in the moment.
I looked up at Sir Gary as Gypsy Mist watched. I looked up into his big eyes and pepper gray beard and trusted him implicitly. Gypsy Mist handed him the facial tack I’d be wearing for the weekend, smooth black leather that went from chin to the top of head buckling in place, then a band across the forehead that buckled in place at the back of the head, and a rubber bit that ran through my teeth and buckled behind my head under my pony tail. As each buckle was adjusted he brushed his hand across my chest and back, calming his new pony that he’d been entrusted with as a trainer. As the last buckle with the bit was tightened down, I flicked my head back and stomped my right foot in place… hello Lady.
The next few hours were delicious. We worked on a lunge lead, with Sir Gray training Lady in how to step higher, walk in circles, heel, turn left or right by reign pulls, to start and stop by reign pulls. Then he watched intently as he handed Lady over to Solitaire in her pony trainer mode… what a woman! Her eyes flashed brightly as she taught Lady to lunge, to trot, to come when called, to move around simple obstacles. Her eyes flashed bright and Lady was in love with this bright star of a woman who I had seen as a bright star of a pony. Solitaire handed the reigns over to Sir Robert, her owner, and he worked with Lady in turn.
A word on Lady. Lady is a horse. She does not understand English except those tones and words she had been taught to understand. She also does not have arms and can not pick things up. She tries to please though, tries so hard, but when she gets confused… she doesn’t do the best.
These came up a few time when she was being trained by Sir Robert. Words like “step higher” made no sense to poor Lady, nor did him trying to have her to sit on a bench. Sitting on the ground though- Lady understood that! Oh, and having her knees lifted for higher stepping… that made sense. Remember- pony girls are not slave girls. They cannot get you tea. They cannot explain their questions in words. At least, this pony girl can’t. Poor Sir Robert- he was trying so hard, but he was used to pony girls that could do these things… and Lady can’t.
Solitaire took over again and fed Lady- ah, how a horse understands big eyes, a wide smile and food! She handed the lead back to Sir Gary who led Lady up the muddy hill back to the stalls where Lady was tied, watered, brushed down… and eventually her facial tack was removed, and slowly Lady left.
My eyes were almost watering as I hugged Gary and nearly stepped on his feet in the excitement of me saying thank you to him. Thank you so much. And as Gypsy Mist came by I hugged her too. I was so overwhelmed, thankful, about ready to burst. But it was time for dinner and other Leather Retreat activities- remember, I hadn’t planned on being a pony that weekend, so I had boys to tie up, women to chase, and good friends to hang out with under the open starry sky.
Or so I thought. After dinner I was heading back past pony camp (my own cabin was just 1 building down from pony camp), warm coat pulled around me as the cool air settled in for the evening, I saw a group of ponies and trainers gathered together. The point up for discussion was the idea of giving pony rides down by the pool during the Luau party. Seemed like a great idea, everyone said, but was there enough space to really pull 2 carts down by the pool in the dark, especially with all the people around? I listened intently, and when Her Royal Highness Susan called for ponies for the rides, I approached her and offered.
Sir Gary, luckily, came along as well. He knew better than I that Lady was a slightly skittish pony, and he foresaw what ended up happening. Lady was rigged up to the cart, with a crew of folks admiring her form and step, and she pulled the cart down and up the hills over to headquarters and into the pool area.
There was not, in fact, enough room for 2 ponies to pull carts in that area. And this was Lady’s first time pulling carts too. After a lot of trial and error, HRH Susan led Lady in some circles and eventually Sir Gary said No, it was time for Lady to go back to the stables.
“Does Lady have an owner?” HRH Susan asked as Lady was being led back down and up the hills back to the stables. It’s an interesting sensation when you can hear the question but have no way to answer- ponies you see do not have the ability to speak English. Yes, Lady has an owner, but he isn’t here, I thought to myself. I’m just a pony away from home.
Sometimes, as in the case of my first cart-pulling experience, eagerness does not pay off. Luckily, Friday I had a chance to try my hand at cart pulling again, and fell in love. Lady indeed is a work horse, and I spent the rest of Thursday evening engaged in other sensual and sexual adventures.
Cart pulling is not for everyone. Traditional “pony-girl” cart pulling is usually shown in magazines and adult films as being done by pristine ponies on flat ground with custom made governess carts. However, the makers of these images forget that for every style of pony, there is a different style of cart pulling.
The first is Single Pony carting. The classic style of course is the governess cart, with a pony decked out in plumes and boots pulling their lord or lady around smooth cobbled lanes around an English manor. Others exist though, from converted wheelchairs to Classic donkey carts from Ireland. I had the joy of pulling all three over the course of my time at pony camp, and I have to say I enjoyed each style of carting for a different reason.
Some carts require the pony to be tethered in at each side, hands chained back and out of the way. I enjoyed these immensely for they took away my hands, a key part of my human self, and transformed me. However, they did not give me as good of an ability to keep my cart steady on uneven fields, or when going up or down hills. For these I preferred the classic work horse style of cart… a lot like a backwards wheelbarrow in function on the ponies end, it allows the pony, at their drivers command, to pull with more arm strength instead of torso power… and in doing so allowed me as a pony to stop and start with less fear of toppling myself in my 4” heel-less pony boots with hooves! It also meant I could use my upper arms to lift one side or another should we reach uneven terrain, keeping my rider upright instead of tilted, thus keeping me looking all the more regal.
The second category of cart is the paired pony cart. Again the styles here involved either being tethered into your place as a pony, using your torso for strength as the belt was attached over your corset or around your waist, or using your arms to pull a bar in front of you. Once you get a pony cart going with two pony girls, it is a delicious site to see indeed! However, your ponies must be well-matched- in height, in length of stride, in stamina, and in strength. For example, I was paired at one time in a two pony cart with Golden Pony, a delicious palomino whose blonde hair fell around her face like a halo, and whose waist was pulled tight in a satin corset, much like mine. We were evenly matched in height and stamina… but her stride was shorter than mine which was quite long in my very high hooves, and in strength… in strength I had to pull every single push on the cart for fear I would topple the palomino by my side.
But once we got going? Oh, I could hear our hooves matched in step echoing from every direction! I could smell the hay kicked up under our feet in time, could feel the pride of our rider, could feel her heat next to me and I was drunk on the excitement. Everyone watched as Golden Pony and I pulled Sir Gary up and down the hill, sometimes by road, other times over wild grassy hills. I was drunk with the attention, my tail (a gift from pony Mischief) twitching with every step, my muddy hooves clacking on the concrete in time with her heeled boots, and huge smiles from everyone as we returned.
Is dealing with the challenges of pairing ponies worth the trouble. Yes. Yes it is. And blessed are they who find their pony match. I saw that match that Sunday at the pony show in the form of Solitaire and Piper. Blessings on such a pair.
Why else do I enjoy pulling carts? I let go and Lady takes over as she snorts up the hill, her hooves digging in as the goal lies ahead. He’s behind me with the leads in hand, and with a hard snap Lady is on her way, knees high and pulling with her might until she falls into step, the step by step that echoes through the bones. He’s behind me with the leads in hand, and with a hard pull to the right then another snap Lady turns with even steps and stays on the path or with another snap charges up the hill with such grace and might pulls with her strength my strength a man or two up a hill and I ride her power through my mind body cunt and feel the surge of what it is to be a proud beast of burden. Lady holds her head high and I fly off and become something better than human, something more dignified, more stunning, more powerful.
I can hear the echoes of her hooves on the concrete on the gravel on the hard mud and grass on the wood and feel the power in her body my body and I fly away. The drool streams down her face and I don’t care. Beauty isn’t in the delicate images of makeup and perfect smiles. Beauty is more pure. Lady is beautiful in the purest ways- in the strength of her legs, in the power of her torso, in the determination of her soul. She is proud, she is true, and as I pull the cart up the hill under the streaming sun I can feel it all and I fly away.
The 3rd category of pony carts is of course the multi-pony cart. This category involves anything with more than 2 ponies, but usually consists of an evenly paired series of ponies, often with the “grandest” in appearance at the front of the cart, and those who are least experienced near the rear. This is done so the newer ponies have someone to follow for timing of their steps, as well as not having the newer ponies pull quite as much weight. The same issues arise as in two pony carts with pairing of ponies… and here I had even less luck in my experiences for I was paired with an pony who was much smaller and less powerful physically than Lady. I literally had to pull my bar for pushing *backwards* to keep from pushing her back into the next pony in my first time out.
But the sight! 6 majestic ponies pulling 4 beautiful mistresses around a field? Hooves in step with Spellbound’s right hoof bell keeping us all in time. The majesty made jaws drop as we went past.
Lady got scared though. They wanted her, in her tall hooves, to go down a steep concrete/gravel incline, and her metal hooves slipped. Sigh. Remember, if in Kaysers boots, stay off downhill inclines that don’t have traction! Luckily the four grand ladies finally realized what was happening up amongst the ponies, between the whinnies and the grunts, the confusion and frustration, and backed the team up back onto the road, turned us around, and led us back towards camp. Led us back to the hay. Led us back to the water and grapes waiting for us as we were all untethered from the cart and wiped down. It was truly delicious, and the fear that had washed over Lady minutes earlier was gone amongst the safety of trainers and handlers that cared about her… cared about me.
Every pony camp has a pony show. It’s just how things work. It gives the uninitiated the opportunity to watch pony boys and girls at the height of their skill and majesty, and gives ponies and trainers an excuse (just in case they needed one) to practice their gaits, their cart pulling, their riding skills, and more. I hadn’t planned on being part of the pony show- Sir Gary and Gypsy Mist were paired for the event, and I was a pony away from home without a trainer to prepare her for the show. So I resigned myself to other adventures, from bondage performances to sensual escapades with friends from New York. But one afternoon on a whim I decided to spend an hour or two as a human puppy… and it changed my life as a pony forever.
Unlike human pony play which I had only been doing in private for a year or two, I can remember back since I was a child playing fetch, or making my own comfty pile of blankets to curl up in on my bedroom floor. So I painted my face like a Husky, put my hair in puppy ears (you may call them pig tails), lubed up my butt plug with a fluffy fox tail protruding from it and slowly slipped it in… let human me wash away and puppy me come out to the forefront- complete with bone for playing fetch. And I bounded off to pony camp to chase ponies.
When HRH Susan chided the puppy for barking at the ponies, she found security curled up at the feet of Erich M.’s wheelchair. He made sure she had water. He threw her bone for her. He even egged her on to go bark at the ponies again, against HRH Susan’s wishes. He and I developed a deep animal/caretaker rapport, and after I came back to human space, we began talking about me becoming his pony for the pony show. My knees and feet tops were trashed from bounding around on the hay, but my spirits were soaring- I had a trainer for the show.
Then, the butterflies hit. My stomach turned into a ball, worrying how I would do, would I let him down? Would I make a fool of myself? Would everything really be okay?
But Erich’s smile and joy at the fact that he had a pony- it made all the butterflies fly away. His eagerness, his pure joy, his light heart and that look of pride in his eyes as he looked at me at the front of his cart- it made it all worthwhile, all perfect. And with his smile as my inspiration, I undertook the challenge of preparing for the pony show. For those who have watched a pony show or seen pictures from it… you see the finished product. You see the high plumes, the high steps, the high energy of the ponies and trainers. You don’t see the sweat, the tears, the frustration the ponies endure trying to perfect an understanding of what their trainers are asking for, the curt comments that pour from trainers lips as they try to make their vision of pony beauty come to life. The time over coffee where ponies out of tack and trainers away from their lead lines debate about what might inspire the audience, what might look good, and debate what is just plain impossible to do in hooves on the slick wood floor of the pavilion where the show would take place.
Sunday came too soon. Between practicing late in the evening with Erich, play parties with other sexually adventurous friends, meals, and an hour or two of sleep… it came far too soon. But there it was nonetheless. We decorated Erich M.’s wheelchair in orange and red tapes, wrapped parts of my tack in orange and red… he wore a black and red leather vest and leather pants while I was laced tight into my corset, my hair pulled up high and wrapped in orange vet wrap, my wrists and ankles wrapped in orange, my high arched boots clomping along the planks leading up to the pavilion as my leather loin cloth brushed against my thighs with each step.
I was glad that I’d sent human me to the background of my mind and that Lady was riding high in all her fidgety pony energy. Scared pony energy that almost bolted from the pavilion three of four times before selling down onto the floor in front of Erich’s cart. Terrified pony energy, twitching at all the loud whinnies and burying her head under her forearms hoping no one would step on her. I was glad she was at the foreground- because human me was nervous of making a complete fool of herself. I’ve done theatre for years, hell, I work as a fetish model and Dominatrix… but this… this was different. And I was glad that I could immerse myself in being Lady, even if it meant jumping at every loud noise and ignoring half the pony show, being far more entranced by grapes and the flashing tack of passing ponies.
There were cart ponies, show ponies, ponies doing tricks, a donkey comedy show, a transvestite on a stick pony, paired ponies doing tandem cart pulling in matching corsets and tack, new ponies, old ponies pulling women in colorful costumes… ponies of all shapes and sizes- even a pony on roller blades. Then it was our turn. I felt the double tug on my reins and I raised the cart up standing with style and grace. I tossed my head, grunted, and pulled our cart to our starting point. The music began, and I felt a slight tug on my reins, followed by a flick that started me moving with a “Hyea!”
It seemed to be over in a flash- circling first to the left in a spiral, then backing up, then circling back to the right at a trot, then a series of forward and backwards pulls, until we found ourselves in the center of the pavilion. The plan had been that Erich would unclip my rein on one side after turning me around in place, pull me forward, then feed me a grape as a finale to our show. Sounds simple enough? Ha! It turned into a complete comedy show, as he tried to spin me ½ turn and I turned a full turn, then he tried to reverse me and I found myself back in my original position with the reins twisted around my neck. The audience was howling with laughter as I tried to reach the grapes Erich was holding, and after a minute we succeeded, and Lady buried her face in Erich’s hands to gobble up the green orbs of decadent sweetness he held.
After the rest of the ponies performed, it was time to award ribbons. One at a time the Mistress of Ceremonies called people forward and the judges announced the 3rd, 2nd and 1st place ribbon for each category. Everyone got a ribbon. Even the transvestite with the stick pony. Everyone got a ribbon- except Lady.
I broke down inside. Erich had been awarded with a handling award, and later I found out that the judges believed that we had come to camp as a couple and thus the award was meant for the two of us… the had no idea that I was a pony alone. They had no idea what fears I’d had to overcome just to approach Sir Gary to talk. They didn’t remember how skiddish I was as a pony down by that Luau I had been, and how much I’d had to overcome my initial pony nature to even compete in the pony show. They didn’t know, but that didn’t mean it didn’t hurt. It cut me to the core, and it took all my strength to keep from breaking down in tears at the moment the pony show ended, hoping, somehow hoping, that maybe they had some stupid special award just for me.
There was no special award.
As the audience trickled out of the pavilion Erich released me by taking off my bit and bridle, and I ran. I ran first behind the pavilion and tears began to trickle down my cheeks, cheeks that were fresh and raw human cheeks now trapped in pony tack. I kept running. I ran down to the lakefront, still in my hooves, leaving hoof prints as I fled. Fled from failure. Fled from disappointment. Fled from a broken heart. Fled until I found a clearing in the brush and fell into my tears.
An hour or two later my tear ducts had run dry and I finally felt able to face the rest of the universe again. I slowly walked out of the forest and there was a very dear friend of mine standing in the clearing, my leather Uncle Boymeat. For the uninitiated it may seem like a silly name, but he is one of the kindest men I have ever had the chance to know. He had been waiting at the point where the path from the pavilion met the lakefront, waiting since he’d seen me bolt like the wild hurt pony I was. He and I talked for but a moment, then walked back in silence to our cabin. Back at our cabin, he turned and faced me.
“Get out of that tack. You need to get dressed for dinner.”
“I don’t want to go to dinner,” I want to curl up and die of shame I thought, “I’d rather just stay here.”
“Get dressed. It’s dinnertime and you’re going to throw on your best latex dress and high heels. Get out of that tack- take a nice long shower. We are going to dinner.”
We did just that. I stripped out of my mud-caked loincloth and Kaysers boots, shedding the weight of my heart as I did so. I unlaced my sweaty corset and sighed, pulling in a full breath of fresh air. I tore off socks after unwrapping vet wrap and welcomed the bare wood floors beneath my toes. I welcomed becoming human again as much as I had thrived on becoming a pony throughout the week. I let the warm water wash away all the drool, the sweat, the tears, the fears… let it wash away the grime from my spirit and build me up anew. I slipped into my tight black and white latex dress, strapped on tall white platform stiletto heels, rimmed my eyes in kohl and covered my lips in deep red, pinned my hair back and presented myself to Uncle Boymeat who nodded his approval, took my arm, and led me up to the dining hall.
Dinner had already started as I joined the rest of my friends from New York at our table and listened with amusement to the announcements as one at a time my New York comrades informed me how horrid they thought it was that I hadn’t gotten a ribbon- they were proud of me, proud of Lady. I bit back tears. During the dinner I received an award from the camp at large for something completely unrelated to pony play, and I went to the front of the room and I gathered my little pink ribbon. I smiled, and out of the corner of my eye I caught Piper, Gypsy Mist and Solitaire looking at me with eyes full of concern.
After dinner I ended up having conversations with each of them. Gypsy Mist and Sir Gary spoke of how proud they were to have seen my transformation over the week from being a lost pony away from home into the majestic beast that had held the entire audience with her presence. Solitaire gave me a huge hug and whispered words of inspiration into my ears. Piper, beautiful Piper Pony with her whinny more real than that of most biological horses, stunning Piper who I’d appreciated from afar came and found me to tell me how much I’d infused her with a renewed appreciation towards pony play by my spirit.
I couldn’t help it, the dam of poise broke and the tears ran free again, as whispers raced through the dining hall of what had happened during the show- how I had been the only pony not to get a ribbon, about how inspirational I had been- how much of a pony. Not a pony girl. Not a girl in a pony outfit who wanted to be beaten. Not some crazy woman in a costume… but a pony. And a damn good one. The tears flowed freely.
And then I saw Erich. He had been sitting in the back of the hall watching as one at a time I talked with folks from pony camp, tears streaming down his face as well. I walked up to him with a great deal of apprehension, and got down on my knees before him, my latex dress brushing the wheels of his chair as I wrapped my arms around his neck and we just cried. His words flowed out in a river of apologies- so sorry he had let me down, how as a trainer he should have done better for me, so sorry I hadn’t gotten a ribbon, how he couldn’t have done it without me, how the award wasn’t for him really, it was mine. Please, take it. Please. Please. Those bright eyes of amazement at his new pony were gone, replaced by a man who was truly fearful that he had lost a friend.
We talked for quite a while. We cried. We talked some more. Soon more folks from pony camp joined us after we made it clear that we’d gotten our private words out and reinforced both of our egos, speaking words of praise and encouragement for each of us- many folks amazed that we weren’t a couple, that we had only met a few days before… many had in fact assumed that because of how our show had went and by how much time we’d spent together practicing that we must have been old friends or lovers. It was inspirational, and late into the night I passed out in bed with the demons purged in a true cathartic release.
Monday was the last day of camp. Tearful goodbyes were being said everywhere, but pony camp ends in its own special way. Gathering around an old tree in the middle of the grazing field the two older male ponies sang a song and played the harmonica as we held hands or held each other. HRH Susan presented everyone who had been a part of pony camp with a certificate speaking in jokes about each of them. And then she called out “Lady” from her list of pony certificates.
She began to cry. Stories of the saga had reached her ears and as the Mistress of Ceremonies she felt horrid that I hadn’t received an award. She presented me with a white special award ribbon, her eyes filled with tears. I didn’t cry. I’d let all of the tears out the day and night before- but I did appreciate her gesture. Not anywhere as much as I appreciated those words I’d received from Erich M., Piper, Gypsy Mist, Sir Gary, Solitaire, Spellbound, Sir Robert, Uncle Boymeat, Lolita Wolf, Neptune, or any of the other pony boys, pony girls, trainers, or members from the audience who had sought me out Sunday evening to speak with me. But I appreciated the gesture as a nice closing to a week that had changed my feelings on pony play.
I am Lady. I am a Morgan, a strong willful pony who is better suited for tasks than show. I get confused around loud groups of people. I get scared. I love grapes, love showing off for those I claim as mine, love cold water on a hot day and love to flirt with the stallions and fillies alike. Even if I am a bit shy, and quiet at times.
Pony play is part of my life now. I’m out of my hay-filled closet of a stable, out and proud, my hooves stomping on the hard earth. I am Lady, and I am a proud beast, whether at home with my owner, or as a pony away from home.
Almost a year later, I received a box in the mail. Eager as a schoolgirl, I opened it up to see what my friend, Erich M., had sent me from his hospital room in the Midwest. Inside the brown cardboard box was an envelope, and underneath it, something wrapped in nondescript newsprint. The words were simple as my eyes poured across them:
I know the reason I feel the way I do, and I know I will feel this way until the day I leave this world. I, of course, am talking about my first Ponygirl…. [cut]
The beautiful Lady, the regal Lady, the proud Lady, the stunning Lady, the vulnerable Lady and for that very short evening and afternoon, an honor I can hardly find words for, My Lady.
As I opened the package from FedEx, the first thing I found was a small, simple, blue ribbon that simply read “1st Place”… and my eyes began to wet. As I re-read the letter I began to cry. As I opened the package and found the plaque, tears were streaming down my face and my eyes lit up with pride, love, joy…
The plaque is black and gold on a deep brown wood base. A horse in mid-stride is drawn on the left side, and on the right side it says:
Two Thousand Three
Proudly Presnted By
Erich M., Handler
I love you too Erich.
And thus ends the tale of a Pony Away. Still a pony, still proud, who will always remember her first handler.