By Joan Bennett, of Westbrook
Dogs no doubt are man's best friend but we must not forget the magnificent animal, the horse.
I'm sure over the centuries, to many men and women, the horse was just as important and loved as the dog. Bred and raised for work and for pleasure, this awesome animal fulfilled its roll until today, where in most countries the horse is used for sporting events or pleasure.
Yet, in my childhood and teen years I was very close to all manner of horses as my father owned a riding and polo stable on Long Island.
Since this was the livelihood for the family we were not to consider the many horses as pets.
But who could help but to fall in love with at least one of these equine creatures. My favorite pony was Indian Girl. She came from out west, where she had been trained as a cow pony.
My Dad bought her to use as a polo pony. He trained her, which was easy, as cow ponies made excellent polo ponies.
Indian Girl was a paint and she stood out on the polo field. She handled so well I used to love to be on her back when as kids my friends and sisters, Dorothy and Elaine, could play a game ourselves.
I hated to see her ridden by anyone else. But on Sundays at an official game if not my father on her back, whom I trusted, it was another player who might not have the love of horses so important for their welfare.
So as it was one Sunday afternoon during a fast-paced and dangerous game down went Indian Girl, as my sisters and I watched. Others would not let us on the field as the Girl was badly injured.
We screamed and cried from the sidelines.
A police officer was called and while I closed my eyes Indian Girl's life was taken with a loud shot.
Having witnessed the Girl's agony trying to stay standing, I knew that had to be the way, but the feeling of loss was enormous.
I will never be able to erase that day from my mind even though I went on to love other horses in my life.
Editor's note: Shown at right in the photo is Joan Scanlon Bennett's dad, Walter Scanlon, atop the Brown Bomber during a match at Bethpage polo grounds
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