I stared at the Land Rover Discovery and trailer as it pulled into the yard. A glance at my sister Michelle and my friend Kirsten revealed knowing smiles. I had a pretty good idea of what the trailer contained from the bold black lettering on the front: Melland Shetlands.
Once the vehicle was parked, Andrew and his daughter Hannah climbed out and opened the ramp of the trailer. Sure enough, inside was Diva, or Melland Queen of Scots to give her full title. A big name for a member of our smallest native breed of pony. The yearling filly’s black coat was as shiny as I remembered from when I first saw her, though she was a little hairier since winter was upon us. I must confess to having a tear in my eye when I took the lead rope and she was officially mine. My surprise early Christmas present had arrived!
Leading Diva to her stable, I felt a pang on her behalf for the Lilliput-like land of the Shetland pony stud she had left behind and her entrance into what must have seemed like the Land of the Giants. Every horse peering at her over the stable doors was more than double her height, including my own two coloured show cobs. The mother and daughter pair, Mabel and Florence, goggled at Diva as I put her into the stable next door. Did all this attention faze the little pony? Not a bit. She marched down the barn into her stable and wasted no time in tucking into the pile of hay in the corner.
Within minutes, I knew I was in trouble. This little pony had already worked her way into my heart and I couldn’t wait to find out what adventures we’d share in the future.