Chapter 1: Pony
Sherlock was given Mycroft's old pony when he was old enough to start riding. Mycroft, growing by the day, had reluctantly relinquished his claim, but had been promised the bossy half-arab the family down the road were looking to sell.
The pony's name was Bucephalus. Or at least that's what the Holmes brothers knew him as.
He hadn't been originally called Bucephalus. His old owner, the Master of the local hunt whose own children had grown up on Bucephalus, knew him as Arthur.
The various grooms, vets and farriers who had to deal with him knew him as 'The evil...,' 'That little...', modifying the endings as needed.
At the local Pony Club he was just known as 'Satan, the destroyer of gymkhanas.'
The local villagers and show goers generally knew him as the Nuisance or the Terror, although it turned out that the WI could be quite creative in their insults after that time with the flower arrangements.
The Holmes parents, not really interested in the world of horses, just called him 'the children's pony.' But they had thought he was sweetness and light ever since they had first met him, when he'd been standing there, bribed with carrot, the evil glint in his eye hidden by his haystack of a mane.
But to Mycroft, and later Sherlock, he was always Bucephalus. And, when a Holmes brother was out with Bucephalus, running riot came nowhere near to describing the chaos and destruction left in their wake.
Though, for once, the pony was mostly to blame.
(The brothers loved him anyway.)
Chapter 2: Pony Training
The Holmes brothers’ first pony was a Thelwell pony. Training was rarely an option.
Bucephalus knew what he wanted to do. He had, after all, been there, done that and got the numnah (or permanent ban from the village gymkhana).
This made him relatively un-schoolable for anything he considered beneath him, as both Holmes brothers soon found out. Bucephalus could put a lot of disdain into single look, and from him ‘no’ was definitely an answer. A small, round, stubborn, pony with a good buck can easily get his way if he wants to.
Of course, the Holmes brothers didn’t give in easily. And, being who they were, they learnt when they couldn’t win. Admittedly, Mycroft knew better than to try and get extra pudding by standing on Mummy’s foot, and Sherlock quickly worked out that biting really wasn’t an option, although it didn’t stop him. But Mycroft would swear later that he’d learnt all the tricks of his trade from his childhood pony, and Sherlock’s various glares, false innocence and sulks had certainly got something to do with Bucephalus’ influence.
Bucephalus was always well-fed and cared for, too. Woe betide anyone who forgot.
Sometimes, though, Bucephalus would deign to be trained. There was one day, after Mycroft had had a bad time at school, when they spent the evening perfecting Bucephalus’ flying changes. Bucephalus even did the corners correctly for once. Then there was the flag when Sherlock went through his pirate phase. It wasn’t long before pony and boy were charging along the local bridleways, flag flying and leaving a trail of imaginary destruction in their wake. Mostly imaginary, anyway, but Mrs Holt just shook her head fondly at her frequently pillaged garden and made sure to leave a bucket of water and cake out next time.
Bribery helped too. Bucephalus would do a lot for food.
Most of the time, though, the Holmes brothers didn’t care that their pony was a terror on four hooves and most decidedly knew what he was doing whether his rider agreed or not. According to them, he was the best pony ever, even if he had just sent one of them sailing into a puddle for mud. He was their friend and fellow mischief maker, after all, and neither brother tolerated just anyone besting them.
There again, Bucephalus wasn't just any pony, and that made all the difference.