The Tether Ball, Snow Pack, and Fell Pony Foals

Tether Ball buried 23 April 2011

Willowtrail Winter Lad and the tether ball

There is a tether ball in the yard, visible from the living room window.  In the winter I monitor snowpack by whether the tether ball is visible or not.  Last year at this time, the ground was baring off at the base of the tether ball pole.  Today, the tether ball disappeared again, meaning that enough snow had fallen to completely bury it.  We have about 2 ½ feet of snow remaining in most places. 

As I was pondering our snowpack and the tether ball today, I was reminded of Willowtrail Wild Rose’s discovery of the tether ball.  Here is the story I wrote in September of 2007.  (The picture shows her brother in June of 2009; I snapped this picture because I’d missed the one two years before!  The other picture was taken today.)

Rose’s Sense of Touch

I find the first few days of a foal’s life full of wonder.  Watching them learn their environment, express their curiosity, and learn the rules of life with their mother and amongst humans is always new and fresh for me.

Living in a forest of pine trees, there’s one tactile experience for youngsters that’s always fun to watch.  When they are a few days old, I take them on their inaugural walk out of the foaling stall into the big wide world.  Inevitably they walk up to a little pine tree and stick their nose on it and step back quickly when they feel the prickly needles poking their nose. 

Rose gave me a new version of this experience.  When she was two days old, she went through the above routine, but then at four days she had me rolling in laughter.  I was in the house, unfortunately without a camera at hand, when I looked out the window to see Beauty and Rose grazing in the backyard.  Between the house and the ponies was the tether ball pole (ball at end of rope attached to top of pole.)  I watched Rose walk up to the tether ball and sniff it, then to my great surprise, she started pushing it around the pole, in her own version of the game.  She would push the ball then step back and let the ball swing, then push the ball again.  I couldn’t quite believe my eyes.  A little while later I watched Rose trying to push the dangling end of the clothesline.  I could sense the wheels spinning in her head as she pondered why this string didn’t swing back to her like the other one had.  What a blessing it is to share my life with these ponies!

© Jenifer Morrissey 2007 and 2011

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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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