This morning it was just three below. Last week we had even colder weather. Nonetheless, my Fell Pony mare Lily and I managed short sessions in the round pen every day. I was the culprit for keeping them short; I couldn’t stay warm on Lily’s back with a daytime high of single digits Fahrenheit. Each day, despite these frigid temperatures, Lily met me at the gate so we could ‘go play.’
Not so the day after it was 24 below, though. The air finally warmed up some, and the sunlight had a little power to it. Lily was sunbathing when I arrived at the gate, and even when I called a greeting to her, she didn’t move from her warm spot in the sun. I felt a little rude disturbing her from a well deserved sunbath, so I entered her paddock angling away from her.
The ‘catching game’ I play with my ponies now is different than when I first got an equine. I remember making many circuits around a pasture trying to catch my first wily one. Now, I try to encourage the ponies to catch me: coming to me rather than me going to them. By angling away from Lily I was checking to see if she wanted to catch me, testing to see how much interest she had in going to play. Before long, she left her warm spot in the sun and joined me. I knew it was a tough choice, and I was flattered by the choice she made!
Lily choosing to come to me rather than sunbathe makes me feel especially good because then there are days like today. Despite her ‘catching me’ at the gate this afternoon, she became my ‘stomp and swish’ girl after we got to the round pen. She was none too subtle expressing her opinion of many things I asked of her. This is the same pony who on more than one occasion has swatted me across the face with her tail. No other pony has ever done that to me. Lily’s tough choice about being with me instead of sunbathing makes it easier to forgive the stomping, swishing, and swatting. What a character!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2011