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Horseplay delivers light hearts in lockdown

Dana Pendrick, September 1, 2021 6:30PM News Corp Australia Network

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Shane Hendricks takes his miniature horse, Jimmy, for a run in Sydney’s Kurnell while he skateboards alongside. The pair have delighted locals for around 10 years with their unusual outings, but lockdown sightings have certainly spread the love. Picture: Toby Zerna media_cameraShane Hendricks takes his miniature horse, Jimmy, for a run in Sydney’s Kurnell while he skateboards alongside. The pair have delighted locals for around 10 years with their unusual outings, but lockdown sightings have certainly spread the love. Picture: Toby Zerna

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A miniature* horse and his skateboarding human have got a “colt”* following in Sydney’s south after they took to the streets for a unique form of essential exercise.

Jimmy the 20-year-old black miniature stallion* is reining* in all the attention from neighbours on his weekly canter* down the streets of Kurnell in the NSW capital’s Sutherland Shire as he pulls along his owner, Shane Hendricks, 34, who keeps up on wheels.

The dashing duo is eager to spread local cheer into the locked down community while continuing a long trotting tradition that keeps them both fit and healthy.

Sydney Strong - Miniature Horse media_cameraSuburban celebrity Jimmy the miniature horse may be a little on the small size, but he scores big points with local kids in lockdown. Picture: Toby Zerna

“Lots of people know Jimmy, and you’ll see us out once every couple of weeks if the weather’s good,” said Hendricks. “The road is bit hard on his hoofs, so we go depending on how he’s holding up.”

“He’s great. Everyone smiles, laughs and follows him. It’s a good time for everyone and I’m out getting my exercise.

“I’ll often stop so kids can pat him and get to meet a little horse.”

Pony Run

At 20-years-old, Jimmy is said to be at his peak physical fitness and often takes the lead during the pair’s regular runs.

“We’ve had him for about 20 years, and he should go till about 35, so really, he’s in his prime,” Hendricks said.

“It’s a bit hard to interact with other animals because he’s on a mission, (but) he’s completely dog friendly.

“He’s just a frisky* young horse and it’s the best way to get the steam out of him. He’s a bit too much if he’s not run properly. He loves it. We fly (down the street).”

Local resident Brett Lobwein was lucky enough to spot the famous pair speeding down the street while out taking a casual stroll with his wife and dog.

“My wife and I were walking our labrador, Charlie,” Lobwein said. “We stopped to pick up litter from the verge near the drains that lead to Silver Beach when we saw Shane and Jimmy cruising past. (It was) such a cool lockdown moment.”

Sydney Strong - Miniature Horse media_cameraAll this and cuddles too? Jimmy the miniature black stallion catches his breath after his latest round of essential exercise with owner Shane Hendricks. Picture: Toby Zerna

GLOSSARY

  • miniature: small, tiny, scaled-down example of something
  • colt: young male horse
  • stallion: adult male capable of breeding
  • reining: checking, guiding, gathering, controlling, often of a horse by its reins
  • canter: pace between a trot and a gallop
  • frisky: playful, full of energy

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QUICK QUIZ

  1. How old is Jimmy?
  2. What is Jimmy’s life expectancy?
  3. What does owner Shane Hendricks use to keep up?
  4. What is a bit hard on Jimmy’s hoofs?
  5. How long has Jimmy been with the Hendricks family?

LISTEN TO THIS STORY

CLASSROOM ACTIVITIES
1. Essential exercise highlights
At a time when many of us are quite limited in where we can go and what we can do, it is important to appreciate the quirky, interesting or lovely things we see while we are out for our exercise – like a mini horse pulling along a skateboarder!

With an adult (or with their permission, for older children), go for a walk in your local area. Try to notice all of the things that make you smile along your way – perhaps a friendly neighbour who greets you as you pass; a beautiful tree or flower; an amusing sign; birds or animals; the smell of something yummy as you pass by a house or shop; or somebody doing something unusual. Take photographs as you go or draw some pictures when you finish your walk.

Time: allow 40 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education

2. Extension
Can you think of something that you could do that will brighten up other people’s daily exercise? Do it and watch for the smiles as people pass by.

Time: allow 20 minutes to complete this activity
Curriculum Links: English; Health and Physical Education

VCOP ACTIVITY
A miniature pet
Growing up, I always dreamt that you could get a miniature dolphin the size of a goldfish as a pet for your fish tank. Completely irrational, but the thought of a tiny little dolphin as a pet was just the best.

If you could have any miniature animal (not a baby animal, a miniature version of the adult animal), what would you want and why?

Try and convince your teacher that your class should adopt your new miniature animal that you rescued on your way to school this morning.

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