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Oreo the pony’s ride to Home

Edith Bono on Oreo in the Upperville Leadline 1-3 Class - Photo By Nancy Kleck

Rescuing animals is a great way to help reduce the number of animals in shelters while providing loving companions to owners. Animal shelters are often overcrowded and house animals under poor conditions. By adopting animals from shelters, pet owners are helping to give homes to animals most in need of them. Further, the relationship between pet and owner is dynamic and rewarding. Animals provide joy and entertainment in exchange for a home and affection. In many ways, it is a mutual relationship in which the pet and owner are both fulfilled.

Molly White went through this adoption journey when she rescued a pony named Oreo in 2019 from the Middleburg Humane Foundation. The Middleburg Humane Foundation is a reputable animal shelter in Middleburg. At the time, Molly was seven months pregnant with her daughter, Edie, and adopted Oreo with hopes that Edie could ride her. Experienced with horses, Molly applied her knowledge of training to Oreo. Though challenging, she made significant progress with the pony. When Edie was old enough, Molly put her on Oreo. Soon after, Oreo went on to compete in Upperville against other ponies. 

Molly White states that “rescue ponies and horses and cats and dogs for that matter can be really valuable additions. We could not be happier with her and I hope other people will look into adoption.” However, Molly stumbled upon Oreo by accident. In 2019 Molly took the trash to recycle in Marshall. She was pregnant and searching for a pony. She happened to look behind the dumpsters and saw Oreo. Unaware that Oreo was a rescue at Middleburg Humane, Molly asked the lady at the dumpster. Soon after discovering the foundation, Molly fostered Oreo for a month. After fostering, she adopted Oreo right before her daughter was born.

While Molly had experience with horses, ponies, and showing proved to be a unique challenge, additionally, this was the first time Molly rescued an animal. Molly’s grandfather was a huntsman in Pennsylvania. Consequently, Molly had exposure to fox hunting. She went on to train thoroughbred horses, or old racehorses, into hunters. Typically, in the racing industry, horses are given to you. Thus, the process of adoption and training a pony was new to her.

When it came to training, Molly had no experience with ponies. When starting to train Oreo, it was clear that she had not been handled a lot. Even though Oreo had a friendly disposition, she did not like other horses. Additionally, she was too small for Molly to ride. So, to begin, Molly went slow. She put a tack on Oreo and walked around. To progress, Molly put grain on her back to prepare her for riding. Eventually, it was time to put Edie on her. This was problematic for Molly, but, luckily Oreo did astoundingly well. Edie, however, had to get used to it. Getting a two-year-old to sit on a pony was a challenge but, “after ten days and a lot of cookies, Edie was happier” (Molly White). 

Soon, it was time for the show. Edie did a lot of prep bareback and only started practicing six weeks before the show. Thus, they did not practice extensively. On June 12, Oreo competed against the other ponies at Upperville. Showing Oreo proved to be a fantastic experience for Molly’s family. Molly states that it was “really gratifying to represent the locals among the fancy ponies.” Overall, exhibiting how rewarding adopting Oreo was for their family. In total, they “offered Oreo a home and she pays us back by letting a 2-year-old ride her. It is good for everyone” (Molly White).

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