KP nut

I'd rather be riding.
Dec 22, 2008
I have hesitated posting this but I felt I should acknowledge a pony who was a big part of our lives for a while.

As some of you know Zak was bought as a safe pony for my novice children. And he was safe - mostly. But he also threw in the towel entirely unpredictably with alarming regularity and threw the kids off any way he could. When they were beginners all he had to do was drop a shoulder or put his head down. As they got better, he bucked or reared and as they got better still he bolted/spun/bucked. Anything to get rid of them. It could be after 5 minutes or after an hour. It was not linked to any particular movement, gait or rein.

Multiple tack/back/teeth/physio checks yielded no issues and several instructors told me to stop 'looking for excuses' and accept it was behavioural - which I did. In the end I sold him to the RS when my daughter broke her arm coming off him when he bolted then stopped dead, bucking. He was better in the arena and as part of a ride and the RS knew his issues and thought they could work with/around them.

He was a firm favourite for a few months but was chucking RS pupils off too so eventually even his most ardent fans had become fearful of him. He'd even roll to get people off. So they more or less retired him - just using him for RDA on a lead rein. Then he went lame. He was intermittently lame for a few months, then chronically slightly lame and then recently, hopping lame with no real explanation from the vets as to the problem. So vet advised PTS and he has gone. I only found out a week later when some RS pupils posted a photo of him on instagram saying 'goodbye old friend'.

I do wonder now whether he was in pain the whole time I had him. Whether he had some intermittent issue that flared up unpredictably. I don't know.

I feel very sad. And that I let him down by not pursuing a pain-related explanation more vigorously. But it was very hard, when my children's safety was at stake, to see a way forward with him.

Run free Zak. No more pain.


Well-Known Member
Jul 1, 2010
Yorkshire Dales
Very sorry to hear about Zak. Don't blame yourself. Some hidden issues remain hidden despite everyone's best intentions. You bought him for the twins and an almost safe pony isn't safe enough when they are small and vulnerable.



Learning together!
Apr 30, 2010
Surrey Hills
That's very sad. Poor pony. I remember you saying that when he was good, he was wonderful, and he had a lovely temperament.

You are right: run free, Zak. No more pain.


Active Member
Oct 6, 2016
Run free Zak. Please don't blame yourself. My boyfriend has a saying that I like 'with all the ifs in the world we could put Paris in a bottle'. You can only go on the advice you were given and it could have been that or not. Sounds like he was quite a character xx


Well-Known Member
Apr 24, 2011
Oh so sorry to hear about poor Zak.I do remember him. Don't blame yourself though as how where you to know and as you say the safety of your children had to come first.


Well-Known Member
Dec 21, 2003
I dont think you should blame yourself. Only last week I was recalling the safe RS pony on which I had some of my early hacks. Like Zak he began to fret at school lessons - and became a danger to the kids. For a time all was well out hacking till he started to nap and rear. I didnt appreciate how dangerous he was - I hadnt yet been educated by NR. So I did go on riding him home. Until a week or so later he napped and reared again and I was ordered to dismount.That is the only hack I ever dismounted and led my horse home. It cropped up for me last week because a pony was being a bit unruly with another rider. And I gave her the option to dismount and lead the horses back, if she wanted.

Before this deterioration he was the pony always chosen for the beginners and older parents who wanted just on lead rein ride. And I am pretty sure it was not pain, it was that he objected and had ideas of his own. The school passed him on, just as you did Zak - some routines and some work with beginners and children just doesnt suit the temperament or taste of some ponies, or they do it dutifully for some years and then things go sour and the bad behaviour escalates.
I am sure you did right to keep your children safe - not every pony relationship has a happy ending. Nor every RS pony. And knowing you, I am sure you did the best your could for Zak - just as my school did for that pony I started on.