Shetland Pony

QUESTION: I wrote a Shetland pony into my story, and when the times come to move him from town to a ranch where the h/h live, I made a ramp and put him in the back of their wagon. My critique partners said, no, that they would just tie him behind the wagon and lead him to the ranch. It's a distance of probably 10-15 miles and I felt too sorry for the little guy to make him run all that way--I mean his legs aren't as long as the horses pulling the wagon..Which makes sense to you?

ANSWER: Unless a horse is used to walking on ramps, they don't like them. We had a ramp on our 9 horse trailer, and those who weren't used to it would jump the ramp. Not too much of a problem coming out, but a heck of a problem going in. If you were in the way, you got smushed.

I'd probably tie him behind. UNLESS you want this to be a character building scene. If the heroine doesn't know any better and has a fit that the pony has to walk, then the hero could put the pony in the wagon to make her happy. Instead of a ramp, you might think about just backing the wagon up to a small hill or incline, kind of like what you do with motorcycles/lawnmowers.

Another thing to consider...if the pony hasn't been in a wagon before, the sound of his feet on the planking may freak him out, cause him to jump overboard, have a fit, etc. Horses who've never walked over a wooden bridge don't care for it, either. One mare I ride always walks goofy over a wooden bridge, and she's done this task fairly often (once every couple of weeks in the summer). It's kind of how we walk on a suspension bridge. Knees bend, head down watching where we're going, etc. So, unless you want it to be a big deal, just tie the pony behind the wagon and head out.

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