by Helen Murray

Dear little pony, the children's clown,
Rough mane stands tall, his thick tail tumbles down.
Jiggety, jog. Yes, some riders have frowned.
Dad can ride him with two feet on the ground!

He's a tough little, nuggety, wonderful chap
Who can live on the roughest of diet mishap.
We don't feed him oats much, he'll founder on those,
But if you can ride him you're right home and hosed!

He's full of the tricks that intelligence brings.
He's always a challenge until mummy sings
Out loud, lets him know that he can't get away
With presenting his backside to children today.

The children must learn how to command him too.
It isn't the easiest thing they must do,
But they look for the pleasure of riding again,
So they learn how to handle tough diamond disdain.

They must learn how to stop him from racing away
Towards home when his head is turned facing that way.
His mind is on resting with food in his trough,
But his job is to teach, and he does it but tough!

Tough diamond's a doorway to wonderful thrills
In the glorious world of the horseman's spills
And great challenges. Once you can master this rascal
Nothing can daunt you. Introductory sample

Of every excitement that riding can offer,
He's cute, pert, adorable, and he can proffer
Essential abilities. Gratitude is
The gateway to mastery, sire of bliss!

Every offence becomes laughable when
You think back to this tough little customer. Then
Your mind turns to teaching, as Daddy once did.
No more can the mud of offence cause a skid.

You'll go round it. Or jump it. There's no need to fall
When Gratitude's mastered. Remembering all
Those scuffles you had that your dad helped you through,
You'll mother, or father, or teach others too.

'Children' who first learn to manage this tough, nuggety wee pony can rise to great mastery. Those who miss out on this basic training will struggle more, and have a lesser chance of winning the prizes.

Discussion questions

Gratitude is seen as a gate of entry to much bigger prizes. What cannot be gained without the attitude of gratitude?

What experience have you with gratitude that has opened up doors?

Would that question have a different range of answers if we asked it of Appreciation? Why

What happens to the Christian who cannot learn to ride Gratitude?

Why is Gratitude seen as such a tough ride?

Once we have learned to ride tough little Gratitude, how is our attitude to Offence changed? Why?

Grandmother, teacher, bushlover, horse-lover, gardener, poet ("Poetry with Punch" published by Tate Publishers and available in electronic form on Amazon) and passionate person, especially about Jesus.

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