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A Tribute To Polo
 By Polo the Weirdo   •   19th Nov 2017   •   3,457 views   •   0 comments
A Tribute To Polo

I could give you an excuse. I could say that I didn’t have the right software installed, or that I just had no free time. I was too busy with work, too busy with competing. I could say “maybe I left it too long, there’s no point now”. I could come up with a thousand reasons for not writing this article, but there’s only one that really matters. I hoped I would never have to.

I joined Ponybox (the old Paint server) in 2007 under the name ‘Polo’ (later ‘Polo the Weirdo’). I didn’t have to think much about the decision – you don’t really, as a child. It’s pretty simple. “Oh, I need a name? Well, I’ll just name myself after my favourite thing!” So, like many of us on here, I named myself after my horse.

I was not a popular child. I was antisocial. Awkward. Confused. I never expected to find much joy in the Internet’s promised escape from reality, but to my surprise, Ponybox became my refuge. I found friends, admirers, role models and confidants – everything a young, anxious child like me desperately needed, but that ‘real life’ stubbornly refused to provide. Through Ponybox and its vibrant, loving and accepting community, I began to develop what I’d never had the courage to have: an identity. I became somebody. And not just somebody, but a somebody that I actually began to believe was worth something in the world. A somebody who mattered. A somebody I was proud to be. I became Polo.

Through the little horse who brought me such pride, such joy and love, I developed a sense of self. Under the name of something I loved so much, I – insecure, anxious child that I was – learned finally to love myself. And compared to that... What more important lesson is there?

I have told Polo’s story before. Actually, it was my first one. It was here, too. On Ponybox, I wrote about how I started my riding career all wrong – how this scraggly little 3 year old that was dumped from racing and polo found her way to me – a novice rider – and how we pretty much did our best to kill each other during what I’m loath to call our ‘education’.

Related: The Story of Polo

We fought like a couple of siblings, but despite it, or maybe because of it, we developed a strong bond. She taught me perseverance, determination, courage and friendship. Success, failure, and how to deal with each (or sometimes both at the same time). I learned that with hard work dreams can be accomplished and that, sadly, some dreams are never meant to be. And that’s okay. She taught me everything that a timid thing like me would never have found in a life without horses. It’s a nice story. It’s my favourite. You should probably read it sometime – but not now. This isn’t that story. That one was a happy one – people loved it. I was proud, too, that I could write something that people loved. I wrote an article that topped the Ponybox popularity charts; it was the most exciting thing that had ever happened to me. And it made me realise something: I love writing. I wanted to write. And finally I had something that everyone else around me had seemed to have all along: a dream. A future. An “I want to be when I grow up”.



Thanks to Polo, I found a reason to battle through what was left of highschool, and drag myself to the ‘anxiety hell’ that was university. While there, I put all that perseverance and determination to good use. I graduated with distinctions in three majors. And with that, I was able to take one more step towards becoming a writer.

There’s a funny thing about writing though. You need to have something to write about – and it’s got to be something good. Well, something you think is good. You have to care, and you have to know what you’re talking about. Lucky for me, that something was already there – one more thing that Polo had given me: horse riding. Through that absolute nightmare of a ‘first horse’, I learned to absolutely love the sport, and developed not only a huge amount of passion and dedication, but even a bit of ability. I learned to bring on and train young horses, and to compete and win in a number of disciplines. I gained some knowledge worth sharing, so I had something to write about. All I needed was a platform which, again, Polo had provided for me, through that ‘Polo the Weirdo’ title. I had all the tools I needed. So I became a writer here on Ponybox.com.

I suppose that brings us to today. I haven’t written in a while, but I still have all the tools I need to do it – I just hope they aren’t too rusty. The only tool I haven’t had is possibly the more important one my little horse has ever given me. I guess people call it ‘muse’? It’s difficult to explain. Motivation? Ideas? Passion? Really, it’s as simple as a ‘reason to write’. A lot of people find their through lovers, or friends, or some breathtaking scenery maybe. I first found mine in a little horse. Her name was Polo, and she was my best friend, and my mentor, who made me what I am today. When I grew up, became an adult, the rude reality that I’d run from as a child had the cheek to come back, and remind me that horses aren’t just precious friends, but also animals. Expensive animals (unaffordable, sometimes, when circumstances change. Which they do). And progress sometimes requires sacrifice. Polo was never a competitive horse, and with the future I was building for myself, based on the foundations she gave me, I had to face a pretty harsh truth: I couldn’t afford to hang on to a horse that wasn’t what I needed in my adult life. Her future was different from mine. She needed children to love, to teach, like she had done for me. She was special – not just to me, but in who she was as an individual. Knowing that, it wasn’t quite as impossible as I had always thought it would be to let her go. I think a little part of myself went with her though. Call it my childhood, I guess?

I wish I could say this story had a happy ending, but it doesn’t. You know that already. She did teach more children, and they did love her, and I really hope they learned as much from her as I did. Unfortunately accidents happen, and quite early into what I believe could have been a truly special career as a riding school horse, Polo sustained an injury which only worsened over time. In August this year she was put to sleep. I didn’t get to say goodbye, but in a way that might be better. Polo never taught me that one. I don’t think I could do it without her. Well, I didn’t. But I guess that’s what I’m saying here, really. In the way I know how. The way she taught me.

It's been a while since I wrote. I guess I wasn’t ready to find a ‘reason’ to. But life has to go on, and even if you feel like you’ve fallen off it a little bit, you have to get back on. Polo certainly taught me that lesson a number of times.

So, to my Polo, goodbye, and thank you. You were more important to me than you could ever know. And to all you at Ponybox, Hello again, and thanks for waiting. With this long overdue tribute to a very special muse, Polo the Weirdo is back.

A Tribute To Polo

A Tribute To Polo

A Tribute To Polo
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