Ponies – “The original ATVs”

Mya - My first "ATV"

Christine Robinson, Vice-Chair of the Fell Pony Society, called ponies “the original ATVs” in an article in the FPS newsletter this fall.  I love this!  It’s exactly why I have ponies.

Yesterday I had to make a run to town for fuel for the equipment our business uses.  I much prefer the fuel ‘my ATVs’ require.  It has a nice sweet smell to it, it makes a comfortable bed for the occasional catnap, and I don’t worry what I might be poisoning when I spill it.

Today I took one of ‘my ATVs’ out for a spin.  I needed some thinking time (there’s no better place than the back of a pony), and I needed to do some scouting.  My husband asked if I could make a wreath for a client.  I used to make wreaths commercially, but the moose got the better of me.  First they ate all the pretty greens before I could get to them. Then Mya, one of ‘my ATVs,’ and I started meeting them in the woods when going out to harvest.  I decided the moose needed the greens more than my clients did, and most of the clients were understanding.  I didn’t see any moose sign today, and I did find enough greens for one wreath.  We’ll see if the greens are still there when I go out to harvest.

On the way back today I found my Christmas tree.  My traditional tree is quite unconventional.  It is a branch of aspen suspended parallel to the ceiling.  I originally came up with this tree tradition because there were cats in the house, and I didn’t want the pesky felines to mess with my ornaments.  I also like to be able to see the ornaments, and this particular approach makes all the ornaments very visible.  There also aren’t needles falling everywhere, and there’s no particular hurry from fear of fire to taking the tree down.  Our living room is quite small, so not giving up floor space is an added bonus.  Usually I can also salvage a branch rather than killing an entire tree for the holidays.

Mya patiently waited while I extricated my ‘tree’ from a snow bank.  The tree had been there all year after a late spring snow storm toppled it, and snow plowed off the road had piled up on it.  After I climbed back up on the road with my prize, I was very happy for my small ‘ATV’ as I could mount (bareback) one-handed.  The other hand held my ‘tree.’  Mya then carried my prize and me back home.  She’s been carrying odd forest products at her side for the dozen years I’ve had her.  We started out ‘skidding’ fence rails by me riding and holding one end of a rail in tongs at her side as we returned to the barnyard.  We’ve also carried burlap bags of greens (she’s not much interested in plastic bags at her side), and we’ve carried odd tools and buckets.

Mya is 11.2hh and is just the right height for me to slip on and off her back while doing odd jobs.  I’m glad most of my Fells are in the 13.0 to 13.1hh range so I can turn them into similarly convenient ATVs when they’re ready.  Anything taller requires a little more logistics.  In the mean time, Mya outdoes any machine with her versatility and sets the standard for the rest of the ponies.

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About workponies

Breeder of Fell Ponies, teamster of work ponies, and author of Feather Notes, Fell Pony News, and A Humbling Experience: My First Few Years with Fell Ponies. Distributor of Dynamite Specialty Products for the health of our planet and the beings I share it with.
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