The only way I am going to make the trek is on the pony. Reebo a fine five year old grey , looked after by his horseman the 30 year old ,father of two Kissun. They will grow old together, the irony being that the pony earns more than the man. The man is on £6 a day.
And so it was. This was no trick pony ,but on some climbs he could almost go up and down ladders There are two rules in pony trekking, Rule One- Stay On. Rule Two remember Rule One. When the horse is going vertically down it seems almost impossible to stay on. You lean back, you push hard against the saddle but still you must, you must(the horseman turns and grins)… but mostly you don’t. Of course there are times when you have to get off.
They try and make me feel better by saying I must feel like a maharajah riding the pony while others walk. I point out that while in history it may well have been the strong and powerful who rode while others walk, on a trek the roles are reversed, it’s the weak who ride. But there are times it had its attractions!
Times when you saw the other members of the party struggling and you had to harden your heart. When the rich drive through less privileged areas and realise that life is a bitch but their pain is not your pain ,so as you see the walkers struggling as your trusted steed tales the strain you realise that life is not fair-but what can you do? Every night in camp you pray that no one else is going to demand the pony. As it happened on one day one did.
Reebo is not a machine. There are times he gets tired and has to be rested. There are times he hesitates as he sums up the options of the narrow and steep path. He stalls, he needs talking to and then with a shake of his head he pushes on to the next height.
My little horse must think it queer/ To have a large man on his rear/But the man is old and not that fit/ His walking is gone so had has to sit.
When it was time to say goodbye I asked my horseman should I stroke the beast with affection and gratitude. No said KIssun. Just get off, walk away, keep walking and don’t look back. I have seen too many tears when the Brief Encounter between man and beast is over. Just walk away.
Which is what I did. But walking away and forgetting are two different things. That shake of the head as Reebo attacks another up ladder. That neigh and shimmy when he sees other horses. You can forget mountains and views but you never forget your pony.