Ponying After Dark

Mya at the Gate

The last thing I wanted to hear at 9pm the other night was galloping hoofbeats coming up the drive.  I was outside giving my ponies their last feeding for the day, and I was really looking forward to going to bed.  I knew that galloping hoofbeats could only mean more work to do, and I wasn’t thrilled.  In a few moments, the three ponies I expected to see – Mya, Torrin, and Lily – came into view.  I knew their destination:  the haystack at the house.  Everyone else had been fed, and my three culprits were hungry, too.

My three culprits are housed in a one-acre pen enclosed by a single strand of electric fence.  I had not had the fence electrified recently because I was charging the battery.  Lily knows when the fence is off, and she sometimes plays with the gate.  The last time I’d seen these three unannounced like this was due to Lily’s ingenuity.  Another time I’d seen them unannounced was when a moose took the fence out.

I haltered my three friends and considered the couple-hundred-yard walk to their paddock.  It didn’t take much pondering before I jumped on Mya’s back and started ponying the other two back to their paddock.  I’ve been ponying these three this way for several years, but I hadn’t ever done it after dark.  They were all quite animated after their escape.  Mya tends to break into a trot to stay ahead of Torrin who walks faster than she does.  Lily then follows suit and then Torrin.  So I was engaged on the ride down the driveway with trying to keep everyone at a slow gait.  We all made it without being too peeved at each other.

I got everybody tied then started investigating why the fence was down.  As near as we could determine, the extreme cold of the previous few days had taken a toll on one of the ceramic insulators.  It had broken, causing the fence to pop free and the gate to fall down.  That’s all it would take for these three to investigate what the rest of the herd was eating.

I take as a small reward for delaying my bed time the thrill of ponying these three.  I often get a thrill when I’m working with just one pony, and working with three like this heightens the experience.  I’m just glad moose damage wasn’t the cause of the adventures of the evening, as ponying these three and seeing a moose while doing it would have been more excitement than I needed at 9pm!

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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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