Pumpkin

(1992 – )
Owned by Houghton College
Inducted: 2015

Photos

Ask anyone and they will be able to recall their first experience with a horse. It may have been a pony ride at a local fair or a lesson on a school horse.

Pumpkin has convinced many people that being around horses is not just fun but inspirational as a lesson horse at Houghton College in Houghton, New York. Exuding a quiet friendly attitude that calms fears and builds confidence, he gives as much as a rider is capable of handling, waiting for the rider to feel secure first.

Pumpkin came to the Houghton College Equestrian Center in 1997 as a donation when he was just five years old. He was already trained to leg-yield, do flying changes, and jump 2'9" courses. But he had also figured out how to drag a small child down his neck as he dove for grass and to drop a shoulder and whirl the opposite direction from a requested turn, leaving startled riders sitting on the ground where the pony used to be"¦..hence his occasional former nickname "Stinker" and the reason why he was donated!

But all it took was a few months of consistent re-schooling to remove those bad habits from his repertoire forever - freeing his true kind spirit to shine through. This very smart pony became an all-time favorite. His versatility, friendly demeanor, patience, and sturdy build let him handle almost any size and weight rider and made him worth his weight in gold.

Now beginners to advanced riders learn dressage, jumping, western and driving from Pumpkin. No wonder that he has his own fan club! He goes equally well in an English or Western saddle, no saddle or with a vaulting surcingle. Pumpkin also ably pulls a Meadowbrook cart as though he had been doing it his whole life "“ clearly enjoying it witnessed by the extra spring in his step and sparkle in his eye.

Pumpkin was named the 2014 School Horse of the Year by the Certified Horsemanship Association (CHA). Students seeking the Level Four CHA Instructor Certification for English and/or Western choose Pumpkin as their mount. Their success will qualify them as instructors of advanced riders and their horses, including jumping courses, dressage movements, reining, and other performance events, advanced horse management and horsemanship theory.

Students in Houghton's Adventure Trails and Eventing classes know they can handle any terrain at a full gallop and negotiate any trail obstacle when Pumpkin is their partner. Handling upper level work is just part of what Pumpkin does well. He is also is the "go-to" mount for small children, timid beginners, and riders with disabilities. If a rider has disabilities, Pumpkin is quietly cooperative and helpful. It takes a special horse like Pumpkin to translate tranquility to his rider.

On any given day, Pumpkin is teaching someone - as the mount for a first lesson or performing a turn on the haunches and side pass. Pumpkin is, at any moment, exactly what his rider needs him to be - a great teacher changing lives and fulfilling dreams.