These charming ponies live in their owners’ homes and surprise everyone with their sassiness.
The first pony we’ll present you is Jack – a Shetland pony who would “do anything for a biscuit or a fairy cake.”
His owner is Ali Stern, a 38-year-old children’s author and illustrator, who is married to a farmer named Rupert. The couple and their two children Bunny, four, and Bertie, two, live in Norfolk, East England.
Speaking to Daily Mail, Ali said:
“My children’s favourite thing to do is to have tea parties in our kitchen or garden room with their teddies and our titchy Shetland pony, Jack — yes, really!
Jack, who will do anything for a biscuit or a fairy cake, clatters into the furniture with his big, wide tummy and likes to scratch his bottom on the kitchen table. He’s an adorable blunderbuss and a food thief, and if he were human we’d have to send him to boarding school to learn some manners.
He’s now 17, but I’ve had him since he was three, after spotting him and his younger brother Joe in a field near my then home in the Cotswolds. It was love at first sight, so I contacted the owner, a lovely chap who’d rescued them, to see if he’d sell them to me.”
Although the previous owner warned Ali the ponies are “naughty and always escaping,” she didn’t let that change her mind.
“Jack’s the only one who’s allowed inside our house. He’s a year older than Joe but is only 28 in tall (or seven hands in horse speak), just a few inches taller than a male Labrador. A horse’s height is taken by measuring from the ground up to the highest point on the withers, or the ridge between the horse’s shoulder blades.
He has tiny hooves that fit into the palm of my hand and don’t require shoes — Shetlands rarely do enough walking or work to need them. Meanwhile, Joe’s big at 44.8 in tall, much jumpier and does have shoes on his much bigger feet that would make our tiled floors treacherous for him.”
Ali noted that Jack is “very much a house-horse by day.” She explained that one day, as she was taking him for a walk, she realized she had forgotten her mobile phone inside the house. When she went back in to get it, Jack followed her and quickly made himself at home.
The children’s author added:
“It really tickled me so I kept letting him in after that. He’s even been known to sit and watch the horse racing on TV with my husband (who rolls his eyes at the madness of it all) and once joined us for a dinner party when all our guests were a bit squiffy.”
Jack has also been described as “the gentlest pony.”
“Behind the cheeky glint in his eye, Jack is the gentlest pony. I visit care homes with him in his guise as a therapy pony in return for a donation to Dementia UK, and we have raised £24,000 so far.
It’s magical to witness the effect he has on elderly people, some of whom sit for hours alone every day. They may not have spoken for months owing to dementia, but they spot Jack and their faces light up.
He’s been known to scratch his bottom on their wheelchairs and Zimmer frames too, which always makes them chuckle, and he once swiped an entire Victoria sponge from a cake sale at a care home.”
The mom-of-two concluded:
“My greatest delight, though, is that my children now ride and play with Jack and take him to local country shows with me. They absolutely adore him and would love him to live in the house permanently.
But come bedtime we take him back outside across the courtyard to snuggle down on his huge straw bed in the cosy barn he shares with Joe.”
Another adorable pony is Mini Mo, “a diva pony who poses for selfies.”
Caroline Wilde, a saddle fitter, and her partner Andy, a marine engineer, live in Goole, Yorkshire. The couple has a pony named Mini Mo, who quickly became “the lady of the house.”
“Mini Mo is a diva pony who flicks her mane, licks drops of prosecco from my hand if we’re throwing a party, poses for selfies with guests and wanders in and out of our house like she owns the place.
Woe betide me if I don’t look up from my laptop when she swaggers into my office — she soon gives me a nip or even a little headbutt to grab my attention.
When I got her eight years ago from a racehorse trainer, she’d never been handled and it took two men to catch her and put her into the trailer for me to bring her home.”
Mini Mo’s owner admitted she wanted the pony “as a companion” to her two showjumping horses, “and also to keep the grass down.” She continued:
“Since then she’s been the resident lawnmower on our seven-acre smallholding — hence the name ‘Mo’ — although she’d rather be raiding my cupboards for carrots or fruit than grazing on grass.
She even empties the contents of the bin all over the floor in search of food and I once found her having a snooze at the top of the stairs.”
“Mo, who is 27 in tall, became the lady of the house not long after we got her.”
“At the time, my mum was living with us, as she was very ill with cancer, and whenever she went outside for air, Mini Mo would follow her when she returned.
I’ll never forget the first time I came home from work to find them snuggled up together in the living room watching TV.
Sadly, Mum died two years ago, by which point Mo had well and truly got her hooves under the table. After all the comfort she gave to Mum there’s no way I’d ever shoo her out now.”
The Yorkshire couple also has two dogs and seven sheep. Here’s what Caroline said about their challenging coexistence:
“One of my two dogs — who are only a fraction smaller than Mo — isn’t so happy about her being in the house. She barks crossly at her as if to say, ‘Oi, get out of here!’ Ever the princess, Mo ignores her. In fact, she’s set quite a precedent as my seven sheep have started following her.
Thankfully, Mo has only ever had one little toilet accident indoors, which is pretty good considering she’s always in there. Given the chance, she’d live in the house because she loves being around people.
So much so she once escaped from my old house in Herefordshire, and made her way to the playground at the local primary school, which the children loved as much as she did!”
“One morning Sparkie suddenly appeared in the kitchen!”
Just like Jack and Mini Mo, a Shetland pony named Sparkie loves to hang out inside his owners’ house.
Lara Maskell, a 38-year-old photographer and animal handler for TV and film, who lives with her partner and their children Archie, 10, and Arabella, 4, in Surrey, noted:
“Strictly speaking, our Shetland pony Sparkie is supposed to live in our private 33-acre woodland. Not that you’d know it given the amount of time he spends inside our house.
In fact, but for the stair gate we’ve installed to block his path, he’d be upstairs in a flash to make himself at home in one of the bedrooms.”
Lara and her family for Sparkie two years ago as a companion for their ex-polo pony and for the kids to ride. She said:
“I was tidying the house one morning when Sparkie suddenly appeared in the kitchen. Arabella giggled and squealed, ‘Get out, Sparkie!’ but we thought it was adorable that he’d joined us indoors.
Since then he’s been in the house constantly, stealing food, snoozing in the living room and generally looking to be made a fuss of, much to the disgust of our four dogs — he’s 24 in high, only an inch taller than our wolfdog, whose bed he likes to trample all over.”
Sparkie’s owner notes he still has some “party tricks” up his sleeve.
“At 11 years old, he’s middle aged in Shetland pony years — they typically live up to 25 years — but he’s not short on party tricks, including climbing up onto stools and sofas, saying ‘please’ for a treat by offering his front leg, and lying down to indicate that he wants a cuddle.
Our back door is open a lot, as the dogs and children are in and out all the time, and Sparkie never misses an opportunity to sneak in. If there’s the slightest sniff of food he appears in the kitchen in a flash, quite often while we’re eating lunch.
He can’t get enough of carrots, raids the fruit bowl, and would devour digestive biscuits every day if we let him. But he’s short and tubby and we have to watch his waistline, so they’re his once-a-year treat at Christmas.
Even if there’s no food on offer in the house he’s never in any hurry to go back outdoors and will settle down in the kitchen or living room instead.”
“Everyone in the village knows who Mr Fuddles is.”
Last, but not least, meet Mr Fuddles – a miniature Shetland pony living with his owners in Buford, Oxfordshire.
Eleanor Martin, a 34-year-old woman who owns a company offering event management and bookkeeping to rural and equestrian businesses, happily shared:
“Few people will have experienced the joy of having a pony cosy up to them while they’re eating lunch in the kitchen, but my miniature Shetland stallion Mr Fuddles does it regularly, always with one eye on whatever I’m eating in the hope he’ll be able to pinch some.”
“Technically, he’s supposed to live with my two Cotswold rams in the field that neighbours my cottage, but prefers to be in the house with snacks, fuss and room service on tap.
I bought Mr Fuddles, who’s 30 in tall, eight years ago for the grand sum of £30 after seeing him advertised for sale on Facebook. At the time he was 18 months old and seemed like the perfect companion for my dressage horse, who was lonely away from other animals.
That was until he started leaving her in the field and making a daily beeline for the house whenever he spotted the door was ajar.”
Mr Fuddles often visits care homes to bring joy to the patients.
His owner said:
“I often take Mr Fuddles to visit patients in care homes and hospices and while they stroke him, he stands patiently and quietly, which is very different to the extremely noisy pony he is at home, neighing loudly to make his presence known.”
The 34-year-old businesswoman added:
“Because I take him out and about, he has regular showers under the hosepipe in the garden with shampoo and a good scrub to make sure he’s fragrant and well groomed, but he’s not up for drying off in the fresh air.
Oh no. Only the warmth of the open fire in the living room or the Everhot oven in the kitchen is good enough for my pampered house pony.”
Apparently, Mr Fuddles is a local celebrity.
“Everyone in the village knows who Mr Fuddles is as he’s often seen out on walks with me and the dog, or attending local events.
He’s also escaped from his field a couple of times and been found four miles down the road.”
“But despite his mischief, he’s pretty well behaved, doesn’t bite or kick, is great with children and — touch wood — has never pooped in the house.
He’s a tiny pony with the biggest personality and I’m pretty sure he’s convinced he’s a dog, which might explain why he ate my cocker spaniel’s food the other day.
My house wouldn’t be the same without him. In fact, I am going to teach him how to climb up onto the sofa so we can have proper cuddles while we watch TV together.”
Have you ever wished to have a pony? Do you own one right now? Let us know in the comment section!