Born to be wild
I never wanted a pony as a child, there were enough wild ones loitering around the home where we lived and they always terrified me, especially when their ears went right back and they began to snort! But my sister did want a pony! She longed to ride with her friends across the sandy beaches that Gower is so famous for, and return home through the valley where I spend most of my time. And to my disappointment, her wish came true. Well sort of!
One late summer’s day, straight from school my father took us with him to a farm on the other side of the moor.
‘We have to walk,’ he said, ‘because we might be bringing something back.’ I knew it was going to be a pony and sulked all the way there and all the way back, with a rather reluctant pony in hand.
‘That will be twenty four pounds,’ the farmer had said. ‘A pound for every month of his life, not bad eh! Need a bit of breaking in but he be worth it!’
My father smiled and nodded his head and handed over the cash. My sister was blinded by the whole ‘pony dream’ and couldn’t see the potential disaster about to unfold. Me, I could spot it a mile away. This was no ordinary pony. They didn’t call him ‘Frisky’ for nothing!
And so, after a two hour walk, we arrived home and put the pony in a makeshift stable my father had prepared. My grandmother stood on the doorstep waving her finger and shaking her head. For the first time, I shared her disappointment.
Well, just as I thought, by morning the pony had gone! No, I didn’t let it go! It jumped a six foot fence from a standstill. The pony was wild and untameable!
‘No school today,’ my father said, ‘we have to find him!’ And find him we did, roaming around with the wild ponies on the cliffs. And the same thing happened a few times a week thereafter. But my father persisted in breaking the pony in despite it rearing up like a demented soul every time he put a rein on its head.
‘It’s a wild pony daddy,’ I kept telling him, ‘and he will not be tamed. You should set him free to live with the others. It’s obvious that is where he must have come from.’
In the end, and despite the cries of my frustrated sister, Frisky was eventually sold and as I gather, the same thing happened again and again, until one day Frisky escaped the clutches of everyone and was left to live and breathe on the moors I still call home. Thankfully, we never did have another pony.
Today, as I drive through Gower, I often see the wild ponies and wonder if any are Frisky’s off springs. I hope so!