Midnight was inducted into the Equus Awards Hall of Fame for his commitment to making the days, and the dreams of young aspiring equestrians everywhere come true. Though small in stature, Midnight is mighty big in his ability to bring a smile to any and all of the children that know him by name at the Howarth Park pony corral.
A cross between a Shetland and a Welsh, Midnight is just that, a little black and a lot of pony. As most ponies go, his age is a bit of a mystery but a good guesstimated guess would have him gaining on his second decade in this world. And in the last decade his popularity and purpose has become increasingly more apparent as his appeal to the young masses continues to rise. As the uncontested contestant for favorite four legged equine at Howarth Park, his future looks bright and brightly lit with the smiles of kids coming to pay their respects to their well-respected best pony friend. But that wasn't always the case.
When Linda Aldrich, owner of The Pony Express, a non-profit organization that advocates on behalf of both horses and youth in need, first met the Mighty M., he wasn't quite the mane man he is today. Out in a field with a herd of goats by his side, Midnight had long since lost his trust in his human counterparts. At first sight it would take an entire team of two legged horse folks to catch but one fearful and frustrated four legged mini horse. Once caught his instinct to survive swung hard into survival gear that had him geared to get gone. Home, though not at home, Midnight had but goal to get away, or get you to go away. Afraid of everything from his own shadow, to the shadow of a doubt he caught in all eyes that laid eyes on him, Midnight was decidedly not going to get along or go along with anything human. Bucking and bolting his way in and out of most situations made this little guy a big force to be reckoned with.
Up at Howarth Park, Midnight was literally beside himself many if not most of those early days, anxious and anxiety ridden to the point that he could not be ridden. Regardless of the fact that Midnight was not ready to be a participant in the pony ride operation up at Howarth Park, Linda felt it was helpful for him to be a part and a party to the daily routine. It was a safe place in that he had both his newly acquainted equine pals as well as his newly appointed people pals by his side. Slowly, but surely as days turned into weeks, Midnight both realized and recognized that he could safely put his less- than- safe survival mode of operation into the past and still remain safe. Big step for a fear-filled and fearful little pony.
Soon Midnight began to relish in his new life and style of living. Once impossible to catch, Midnight was now equally as impossible to not catch. Though all of the other ponies that faithfully serve the young park patrons look forward to days off, Midnight looked forward only to days on. As impatiently as Midnight could once be found trying to find a way out of his life, he could now be found equally impatiently waiting to get out of the gate and into the trailer and on with his new Howarth Park life. Never one to be left behind, Midnight soon became the mane man at the Howarth Park pony corral with his very own herd of kids requesting him by name. Always a kind nudge or a nod of his head as yet another young aspiring equine enthusiast called him out by name, Midnight would go around and around and never once, say never.
To this day, over a decade later, Midnight can be found each and every day that Howarth Park is open (February through October), alongside the fence line waiting patiently for his next passionate little person to call him out by name. Never one to turn down a carrot or an apple, Midnight is treated to treats that he has earned through a (second) lifetime of a life devoted to making his small charges happily charge in his direction. From taking kids around and around the Howarth Park corral on a pony ride, to teaching them the highlights of horsemanship, Midnight's dedication to serving his youthful masses is nothing short of devotion. A little black, and a lot of pony has finally come home, to his home. And as they say in story books, he lived happily ever after. Thank you.
Update: Midnight passed away on March 26, 2015. You can read more about how he touched our lives here.