An Antidote to Grief

Mya and me on a trail ride many years ago

At the moment I am grieving the death of a friend’s pony.  To help me with my sadness, I decided to take a short trail ride on Mya, and it proved to be a good antidote, including several doses of laughter. 

Our ride started with a different sort of experience, though, for after I haltered Mya and stepped out onto the driveway with her, we saw not too far down the road a cow and calf moose.  Cow moose are known to be quite aggressive, especially when they have calves, so after mounting I approached the pair with some trepidation.  The sun was behind them, and I thought I saw the hackles come up on the cow’s withers, which in turn stirred my stomach juices a bit.  Mya seemed not the least bit concerned; we’ve encountered moose numerous times on our rides together.  A few seconds later, the moose gave ground, perhaps because I was mounted, she felt that the pair of us wasn’t worth taking on, and we continued on our way.  I am often envious of Mya’s confidence.

It was from then on that laughter became the dominant experience of the ride.  I was late for feeding time, and while Mya accommodates my desires for rides when she is hungry, she also takes every opportunity to snatch bits of grass on our outings.  Sure enough, when we turned off the driveway onto the trail, her head went down but her feet kept moving.  We played various games with me trying to keep her feet moving and her trying to get as many mouthfuls as possible.  As these games have been a part of our relationship for a long time, past behaviors resurfaced such as her grabbing a mouthful and starting to trot in anticipation of me urging her forward.  I didn’t want to trot though, just walk, so I asked her to resume the slower gait, and we continued on, with me smiling at her antics.  It’s always entertaining on those occasions when she pulls the grass up, roots and all, because then she swings it about trying to get rid of the root wad while retaining the edible bits.

My biggest laugh came when we approached a tuft of grass that was taller than her ears and she swung her head to one side and then the other, biting at it twice.  The results of her effort ended up extending nearly three feet on either side of her mouth.  She seemed quite pleased with herself.  As the grass ‘whiskers’ slowly got shorter as we went on, I chuckled over and over again.

It’s been recommended to me several times recently to spend time with my ponies to deal with tough emotions like grief, and the advice has turned out to be very well given.  My heart is still heavy about the death of my friend’s pony, but I’m also glad to experience joy with the ponies that are still in my life.

© Jenifer Morrissey, 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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