In this exclusive “Reflecting on Kindness” series, Ponysitters Club members reflect on moments from episodes that allowed them to express different forms of kindness.
In this week’s journal entry, Shelby demonstrates kindness through the themes of trying new things, fitting in, being disappointed, understanding the difference between superficial and real friendships. She shares how these themes allowed her to express authenticity, being honest with yourself, and admitting when you were wrong.
Shelby and Apollo have just been accepted to the prestigious Haversham riding academy, and Shelby (and her mother) couldn’t be more excited. They will finally get to be around the upper-crust society they identify with, and Shelby will have world-class riding instructors to boot. However, when she actually starts her lessons in “Riding School” (S01E08), she finds the students and teachers at Haversham aren’t nearly as friendly or kind as her Ponysitter pals back at Rescue Ranch. She slowly realizes that as nice as it is to have fancy things, friendship matters more.
To be honest, these last few days have been pretty hard. I never thought that getting into the riding school of my dreams would turn out to be a bad thing, but here we are. I’ve been thinking a lot and I’ve decided that maybe the fanciest things aren’t always the best things. Let me explain.
So a few days ago, a letter came from Haversham Riding Stables saying that Apollo and I had been accepted into their riding academy. I just HAD to tell the Ponysitters — they’re my best friends, and I thought they would all be happy that I was going to be living my dream of boarding Apollo at the most prestigious, high-class, and most expensive stables in the country. They were sort of happy, but Olivia seemed especially bothered. I didn’t know why at first — it was such a great opportunity for Apollo to get better care and for me to be trained by world famous riding instructors. It took me a while to understand what was really going on with Olivia.
I was allowed to invite two people to my orientation, so I brought Skye and Olivia. I wanted to show the other Ponysitters what a great opportunity this was for me. I know Skye wants to be a veterinarian and they have classes for that at Haversham — I thought maybe she could talk to one of the instructors and maybe join me someday! That’s about when I started to realize something: I couldn’t really picture riding and taking care of Apollo without the other Ponysitters.
When I was showing them around the stables, all I could think about was that this would be the last time we’d be sharing a stable for quite a while. And with the two of them there, I started to notice how intense things were at Haversham — everyone was so focused on winning ribbons and making it to the Olympics that no one really seemed to be friends. No one talked to one another, no one ever laughed — I guess I had always taken for granted how much fun it was boarding Apollo at Rescue Ranch. It never occurred to me that other stables wouldn’t be the same.
I guess that’s what Olivia was feeling when she heard my news: she knew what a magical place Rescue Ranch was and she didn’t want any part of it to change. After my orientation, I told my mom that I was feeling the same way and that no matter how prestigious Haversham was, it still had nothing on Rescue Ranch. You know my mom — she wasn’t exactly happy that she wouldn’t get to hang around high-class society like SHE’S always dreamed, but deep down I know she’d miss Billy and Grandpa and Rescue Ranch too.
Did you know that kids can become a real member of the Ponysitters Club? Learn how to join and be sure to inspire your kids to be doers by downloading the 4‑H Inspire Kids to Do Activity Guide!