Louise Minchin on her Shetland pony problems
PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:51 04 October 2017
Shetland ponies are such sweet harmless creatures, aren't they? BBC TV presenter Louise Minchin used to think so...
I have been in trouble this month. My adopted Mini Shetlands, which have been dubbed, ‘Your ponies Mum’, as I was the one who wanted them, made another bid for freedom, and after escaping from their field proceeded on a joyous rampage through my husband’s much-loved and cared for vegetable patch.
The carrots, which he had nursed painstakingly from seed, and were ready to be plucked from the safety of the ground, were their first target, and there could be no doubt that Holly and Muffin were to blame for their demise. They had left a trail behind them with green carrot tops haphazardly tossed aside, and hoof marks deep in the dark the soil. With ruthless efficiency they had eaten every carrot they could find.
That wasn’t the end of it. With some trepidation, we followed their tracks, which went straight to the apple tree. A day earlier, it had been resplendent with a dozen or so beautiful red spheres, ripening in the last days of summer. By the time they had finished their binge, not one apple was left. Even the fruit on the highest branches, which they could only have reached by rearing on their hind legs, or shaking the tree to dislodge it, disappeared into the ether, as if it had never existed.
David was furious, and I tried to pretend that it was very amusing, while being quietly sad about the apples. The naughty ponies didn’t care, work done, but still not satiated, they were swishing their tails grazing underneath the empty tree.
A few days later, while David was still muttering about the loss of his vegetables, thankfully for my sake and the ponies, their misdemeanours were overshadowed by a more formidable force, the arrival of a herd of excitable bullocks and heifers in the village. They too had escaped, and I returned from work to find them charging up the road, leaping over stone walls, landing in the middle of beautiful rose-beds, ploughing through borders, and macerating lawns. They were having a whale of a time, frolicking about as if they were at a pool party.
I made a few frantic phone calls for back-up, and together with friends and neighbours strategically placed to cut off their escape routes, we managed to steer them safely back to where they belonged. The scene they left behind, made the loss of some carrots and apples very insignificant, and it turned out, that we’d had a very lucky escape, they had trotted straight past the open gate to our garden and left it untouched.