I had never had four generations visit me before. In fact, the only time I can remember being in the presence of four generations was when I was at a family reunion. So when visitors interested in the ponies arrived and four generations climbed out of the automobile, I was four times blessed.
I always enjoy visitors who are interested in my ponies because it gives me an excuse to both talk about them and spend time with them. I especially enjoy answering questions, and the best ones usually come from the youngest visitors. In this family, though, the youngest generation, two boys younger than ten years old, were afraid of animals. Our dogs love people, and their exuberance frightened the boys enough that we had to put them in the house, to the dogs’ great disappointment and the boys’ relief.
It was one member of the second generation, Grandma, that began peppering me with questions. Her parents were the ones that initiated the visit. I first met Les a year before when my ponies packed his freshly-killed elk out of the forest. Then Les and Barbara visited to meet the ponies during the summer. They had become intrigued after reading my books that they had found on the coffee table at a mutual friend’s cabin. They then asked if they could bring their horse-crazy daughter to visit when she came to town. Of course I said yes!
The picture here shows my Fell Pony stallion Guards Apollo with three of the four generations; the one great-grandson that was still present didn’t want to be that close to Apollo. Given that my ponies see more moose than people (my husband and me excepted), I’m always impressed when my ponies are so good with visitors. Immediately after this photo was taken, I saw the dogs flying down the driveway towards us; they had apparently figured out how to open a door at the house and couldn’t wait to join the party. I hurriedly gave Apollo’s lead rope to horse-knowledgeable Grandma while I assisted my husband in corralling the dogs and heading them back to quarantine.
After that is when things got interesting. Great-grandson asked how hay was made, and after answering that question, I encouraged more. Within a few minutes he’d gotten up enough courage to put handfuls of hay under the fence where Apollo eagerly gobbled it up. The questions started coming regularly, including about the horse trailer and how it moved and how the sawmill had milled lumber for the ponies’ sheds. By the time we got to the jog cart, he thought he might be interested in riding in it behind a pony.
Unfortunately the weather was changing rapidly and snowflakes were in the wind, so the visit by the four generations had to come to an end. I hadn’t ever had a visitor curious about the ponies but so afraid. In hindsight I realized I should have introduced him to Mya the Wonder Pony who is small and very quiet and very used to little people. I think in another half an hour, I could have had my fourth generation visitor not just feeding her treats and petting her but actually calmly sitting on her back! Since Mya is getting up there in years though, I now need to think about how to use a bigger Fell Pony to break down fearfulness when Mya is no longer an option. Visitors are such blessings because there’s always something to learn.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016