Dolling Up Pony

Most horses love to be groomed. They enjoy being fussed over and fed treats, the company of their people, and eating hay while somebody else takes care of snags and mud. Horsemanship is not just riding or groundwork; the time you spend with your horse, simply enjoying each other’s company, may be one of the most important parts of building a good and trusting relationship.

Horses cannot say thank you, but horse girls quickly learn whether their ponies are happy to be fussed over. Sometimes, the amounts of ribbons, glitter, and hair dye (you make the best easy-to-wash-out dye from crushing kids’ drawing chalks into water) can make the aesthetically sensible adult cringe, but remember: The horse doesn’t care what it looks like, it cares about the attention, the grooming, and the time spent in its people’s company.

Caroline, Lucia, and Sif have dolled up Apple and Cassie just for fun and giggles!

Karoline, Lucia, and Sif have dolled up Apple and Cassie with pink and silver glitter for no reason whatsoever besides having fun!

There are rules about how a horse or pony can be prettified for shows and competitions for obvious reasons: All horses should compete on equal terms and decorations must not be used to hide or obscure flaws in mount or rider. For fun, however, the sky is the limit and your horse will love the attention.toomuchglitter

Personal Poneh Space


Have you ever noticed how different horses — and for that matter, different people — have different needs for personal space? The ‘bubble’ around us grows and diminishes in size depending on who we are, and whom and what we are dealing with.

Grandezza’s personal space requirement for her people, Louise, Cecilie, and Käthe is very small: She trusts and likes them. Her bubble becomes a bit larger for strangers — she’s a friendly and polite horse, but please, don’t be all over her. Wine and dine her first or something. And if you’re a gelding, you should be on Mars.

Pilar’s personal bubble is pretty much non-existent. She lets anyone into her personal space unless they want to trim her feet. At that point she dances and squeals like a teenage girl in a tickle battle.

Grandezza, with the greater need for personal space, will politely inquire whether it’s okay to frisk you for treats before doing so. Pilar, who has no clue about this, will stomp right in and get to work. Grandezza is polite. Pilar is… Pilar.

Horses and people are a lot alike in this respect. I find that one should respect a personal bubble, whether it’s inhabited by a human or an equine. Working with either will be so much easier if they don’t feel that you’re all over them, hands everywhere, being entirely too pushy.

Drawing Pilar

I’m not all that fantastic at inking (I tend to run out of patience!) and cartoon style isn’t something I have a lot of practice with. All the same I am quite fond of this little Pilar toon!

Given that she is black, as Friesians tend to be, I wondered if I should try to dab in some greys, but I suspect it might take away from the ‘clean’ feel of the image. Opinions very welcome in comments!

Yes, the Morris inspiration is real. I grew up on Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper.
Yes, the Morris inspiration is real. I grew up on Lucky Luke and Jolly Jumper.