Kim Stoddart is smitten with Shetland ponies on her smallholding

We were supposed to be getting donkeys this year (I even wrote a feature about it), but life doesn’t always turn out the way you expect it to. Instead, we recently became the very proud owners of a couple of Shetland ponies.

I’d never considered horses (or indeed ponies) before I was offered these two by a friend. My interest in donkeys had been predominately based on their reputedly excellent way with autistic children and adults alike. My youngest son, Arthur, is autistic and I’m setting up a social enterprise care farm/smallholder training centre, and donkeys came highly recommended. As it happens, these very loveable but stubborn creatures have been replaced, for the time being at least, with a breed of pony that is also renowned for its therapeutic qualities… and much stubbornness besides…

It’s only been a matter of weeks, but it’s fair to say we are utterly smitten. I’ve also been amazed at how responsive, understanding and patient they’ve been with my autistic son, who absolutely adores them. Arthur is only seven, and our Shetlands (a mother and daughter duo called Mollie and Ellie), seem especially drawn to him in a way that is almost hard to believe.

See our April issue to read the full, three-page feature.

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