Animals With Careers..Duncan

Tell me a bit about yourself
I am about 19 years old and I am a pony.

Previously I lived with a lovely family but as the small human grew up they became too big to ride me so for the past two years I have lived at Stepney Bank Stables.

How many horses and ponies live with you?
I live here with 22 stable mates.
Some are owned by Stepney Bank Stables and some are owned by individual families that arrange for them to live here.

Do you have a best friend?
Although I do prefer my own company I do have a best friend who is called Chester.

Do you get time off?
Every day when there are no public around we get to run around and play together in small groups in the indoor arena.
At least once a week we are taken in the horsebox to a huge field , where we spend the day running around and relaxing outdoors.
The horse box only carries four of us, so we take it in turns so that everyone can enjoy a day outside in the field.
So I get plenty of free time to play and socialise with my stable mates.

What is your role?
I have two roles at the stables.
My first role is letting humans ride me.
This is fun as I get to meet loads of new humans and they all have different riding levels.
Each day is fun and exciting as I could be helping a human with their first riding lesson or galloping around with an experienced rider.
We can take humans around the indoor arena or outside on the roads to teach them about riding outside.
There are also grooming lessons for the humans which are sometimes funny as some humans are not used to being so close to us.

My second role is much more rewarding for both myself and the humans riding me.
I was assessed and passed as being calm and suitable as a hippotherapy pony. This involves me helping disabled humans exercise their muscles. Which involves a lot of stopping and starting, which I don’t mind.
I recognise each of the humans that ride me and I move differently for each one, so that they benefit and enjoy their session.

Do horses and ponies have a retirement age?
There are no set rules about retirement. It all depends on the individual and what their role is.
As I am about 19 years old and still feeling energetic I could keep going until I am 30 or older.
The staff at Stepney Bank Stables are great at looking out for our health and welfare. Any time we are looking a bit under the weather or are having an off day, they let us relax and take the day off.

As I get older I will probably stop doing lessons where I can gallop around and focus more on beginners and hippotherapy where I can take a leisurely walk around the indoor arena.
Hopefully it will be a long time before I get to that stage.

More information about Stepney Bank Stables:

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