One of ND's regular columnists shares a personal narrative from his childhood. 

My dad always enjoyed horses, and had a big dapple grey. This horse traveled with us from Covington, Okla., to Beaver, Okla., and then on to Coldwater, Kan. While we were living in Coldwater, Dad bought me a Shetland pony. I named him Dandy.

We had a large barn with separate stalls for each horse, and the loft had stairs. Dandy observed that we would go up the stairs with a bucket to get his feed. This particular day, I had forgotten to close the gate to the stairs, and Dandy went up the stairs and ate the feed. Dad tried to lead Dandy down the stairs, but he wouldn’t budge. Realizing Dandy wouldn’t go down the stairs headfirst, but understanding that he had to get him down, Dad pushed him down the stairs backwards, realizing he may break a leg. Dandy made it down with no problem. Now he needed to be walked or ridden to work off his overeating binge.

The neighborhood kids liked to ride Dandy, so Dad let them take turns riding him with the understanding that they would keep him moving and not let him lay down. So down the alley they went, one was riding and others following. In about half an hour, Dandy came back alone. About 10 minutes later, the kids showed up to see if Dandy had come home. That was normal; when he got tired of being ridden, he just headed home with or without the rider.

Dad decided that he would break Dandy of going home when he wanted, so he rode Dandy down the street – most of the streets in Coldwater were dirt then. When he turned to head home, Dad just slapped him on the side of the neck. Dandy reared up, causing Dad to slide off, and Dandy left him, sitting on his butt in the middle of the street. Dandy headed home on the sidewalk as people cleared out of the way. Dad walked home, got on his dapple grey, and went looking for Dandy. After an hour of looking all over town and not locating him, he went home. Upon arriving home, he found that Dandy, true to his nature, had come straight home, jumped the fence, and was in his stall, eating.

Because I was only 7 years of age, Dad decided that Dandy was too unpredictable, and we should sell him. I promised dad that I would ride Dandy one more time. In the sales arena, I was riding, and Dad was leading him while the auctioneer started his spiel. Dandy became excited and reared up, so Dad just put his hand under Dandy’s hoof. Everyone thought it was a trick and started clapping. We sold Dandy for much more than dad had paid for him.

Shetland ponies are fun and cute, but they are mischievous, and most do just what they want – kind of like Porky. 
ND