Pony Say No

A pony express rollercoaster at the Knott’s Berry Farm amusement park in California is under state investigation after an accident last Thursday in which ten people were injured. Riders sit astride saddles and lean forward over the necks of model ponies as they charge around a modest course of rises and falls. As one troop of “ponies” was setting out, it met one of the inclines, slowed and finally rolled back down the hill into another pony troop in its “stable”, landing ten people in hospital over night. Thankfully they are all out and well. LA Times story and artist’s impression of the ride here.

The rollercoaster ponies’ performance sounds exactly like that of the hired Connemaras that my family tried to ride up the Gap of Dunloe during one wet and windy Irish holiday in the 1980s. The ponies went about half a mile, turned and headed for home. Mum and I managed to get them pointed the right way after a struggle, but it was too late for my father and brother, the nonriders, who were helpless, and rapidly disappeared back down the track towards the stable yard.

I have a feeling that perhaps the owners of Knott’s Berry Farm weren’t looking for quite that level of authenticity in a pony ride.

Round Up

  • Rodeo mules in San Antonio swan dive into water tanks to entertain the paying public. “What’s wrong with a mule diving into a cold pool on a hot day?” asks their trainer. Where to start?
  • A starved, dying horse is dumped in an LA street. Police question locals to find the owners. NFL player Jared Allen offers a reward for information.
  • Twenty shire horses hauled a replica of the Titanic’s anchor from Dudley to Netherton in a recreation of the original anchor’s journey from foundry to railway. Eight thousand people turned out to watch.
  • A statue of a riderless, injured horse was erected in Brno, Czech Republic, to commemorate the cavalry mounts who lost their lives there in 1805 in the Battle of the Three Emperors at Austerlitz.
  • Anna Sewell’s will is now available to view on-line.