Most little girls dream of having a pony and I was no different. My twin sister Teresa and I begged our mom to let us buy a pony. Mom called us crazy. We grew up in the middle of nowhere West Virginia and my mom raised us on her own and didn't have much money. Being the loving mother that she is, she finally said yes if we saved the money. So for the next year, we saved with the help of our older sister. When we got $400.00 we thought it was time to start looking in the traders. We seen an ad for a 3 year old pony for only $300.00 so we begged mom to call and she did so we got a friend to put his rack on the truck and of we went to Beckley, WV. When I first seen Lightning, he was full of life and high spirited and I fell in love. Lightning was not a pony you wanted your kids to have thank God my mom didn't know much about horses. Teresa and I loved him and wanted him even though he was clearly not broke to ride at all and the people that owned him refused to get on him and they said he was gentle as a dog.
We had been riding mules and whatever else we could borrow for years so we knew we could handle that crazy little white pony. After many hours in the saddle, Lightning finally broke us to ride. Lightning was our world and there where times I felt so helpless in my life and just wanted to run away and Lightning was truly my light during a dark time. He love to race and be rode you didn't have to worry about him running from you when you wanted to go for a ride he would just meet you at the gate.
We had Lightning for about 3 years and then one day no one was home and Lightning got out of the barn lot and came down the road to our house. A Ford truck hit him in the side, he had some rough cuts on him and his shoulder was hurt. I hurried home and there was a crowd of people standing waiting on me to say ok put him down. When Lightning saw me, he started limping toward me as if he was saying help me. The white little pony was covered in blood and I said no one is putting him down. For the next 30 days, I would walk him and he would use his left front leg some but with a limp. My mom was getting married and moving 300 miles away and Teresa and I didn't want to move away so we decided to move in with my older sister until we graduated high school. I asked my aunt if we could keep Lightning in her barn and she said no. So there was no choice but to let him go with my mom. It was a large farm and I knew that he would be happy turned out with other horses. I missed him so bad and would lay in the bed and cry myself to sleep. I loved to go visit him and he was always happy to see us. I noticed he wasn't using his leg like he needed to and his shoulder was drawn up. His hoof grew long and adapted to his disability. Lightning could run and play with the other horses and was mean as ever, so I knew that he would be ok.
My last year of High School I met a wonderful man (John) while visiting my mom. We dated long distance for a year and after I graduated I moved to Virginia. The hardest part about leaving WV was the distance it put between my twin sister and I. John and I married in 2001 and Lightning finally got to come live with me. I always made sure he was in the greenest grass even if that mint he had to go stay where our cows where. I always missed him when he wasn’t right by my side but tried to make all the right choices for him. I just wanted him to live out his life happy like any horse would want. Last summer 2010, I noticed Lightning had a bad tendon in his right front leg (his good leg). His good leg had now become his bad leg. The vet put him on bute. I didn't give it to him all the time I know there can be side effects. I really didn't think Lightning would make it through this winter of 2010.
Lightning had such a will to live and I just couldn't put him down until I thought he was ready to go . Before I knew it, spring was here and Lightning seemed to be doing ok. I was like this pony is amazing. April 17, 2011 I noticed that morning that he had not eaten all of his grain. He is a pig so I knew something wasn't right. It was really hard for him to stand on that right front leg so he was putting all his weight on the bad leg. So he wouldn’t even finish his feed would lay down to rest. I asked John to come out and take a look at him I just needed someone to confirm what I already knew. John said I think it's time. I cried I didn’t want to say goodbye to my pony my best friend. Lightning always seemed to care when I was sad or upset about things. We always enjoyed laying in the field together and had a special bond from the day I brought him home. It was so hard to make that decision to say goodbye to such a faithful friend.
I knew that the days and weeks ahead would just be harder and harder on him and he was already laying down most of the day. I couldn't let him get to the point where he couldn't even get up. I decided that I would spend all day Monday, April 18th with him and my niece came over and I asked her to take pictures of me spending time with him, so I could always have that. That is where the Wonderful Pictures came from. It was a wonderful day and I encourage people to do the same. You only have a short time with friends you love. I called the Vet Tuesday, April 19th I spent the early part of that day with Lightning and told him how much I loved him and how thankful I was that he was a part of my life and he was a little girls dream come true. I promised him I would always do right by him and that is why I had to say goodbye.
The Vet came at 3:10 pm and I knew I wanted to stay with him till the end no matter how hard it was. Lightning always took care of me and It was my time and I wasn't about to walk way from him during his last few minutes of his life. I held his lead rope and the vet sedated him. Then she got the other drugs out. It was so hard for me to watch, but I just whispered in Lightning's ear, I LOVE YOU and I will see you later, my Friend. The Vet took his rope and assisted him as he went down. I heard the last breath go out of him as his lifeless body laid there I just laid on him and cried. I knew he was at peace. I thank God that I stayed. I cut his tail off so Id have it and then I came in the house and had a good cry, which felt like for hours. On Wednesday, I decided to go make a beautiful horsehair bracelet on his grave. It was so emotional and broke my heart. Then I decided to take a picture of me with the bracelet in the same place we took the other pictures, but this time I was alone. Those pictures are so magical. Lightning and I had a eighteen year friendship. His hoof prints are left on my heart. Lightning was a magical little pony and I never broke him to ride he was just as wild as the day I bought him. Thank You Jesus for giving me Lightning for so long he was a blessing in my life. Spend every moment you can with the ones you love. After Lightning’s accident I searched for the right horse that could be my soul mate. Then realized that it was the wild pony in Lightning that I loved so much. I found my new best friend a Bay Standardbred Pony and named him Thunder because that is what goes with Lighting. Thunder has helped me a lot and even in Lightning’s passing he was there by my side. I never grew out of that little girl love for Ponies that is why I ride ponies.
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