My husband started a conversation this morning with the words, “If I weren’t married to you…” Needless to say, he had my attention, and I was quite interested to hear how he would finish the sentence. “If I weren’t married to you,” he said, “I’d marry Shelley.” Shelley is Restar Mountain Shelley III, my eight-year-old Fell Pony mare, and I must say I understand his sentiment. Especially when in foal, Shelley wants to interact whenever she sees us, accepts treats politely, stands still to be scratched in her favorite places, and is so calm, confident, and serene that she makes me envious.
And then there are times like this morning. I only wanted to see the state of her udder, as I’m in the beginning phases of her foal watch. I had just given her a bucket of vitamins. When I bent over, she lifted her hind leg in threat despite me being a full two feet away. When Shelley first arrived here, she quickly gained a reputation as a princess, wanting her own way and using her size and strength to get it, including firmly planting her foot on Don’s as she came off the trailer for the first time.
Over the years, of course, we’ve come to an understanding about foot placement, among other things, and Shelley has worked her way into our hearts. I’ve learned, for instance, that I need to wait until she’s finished her bucket before I ask for much of anything. I’ve watched her kick her foals off when there’s a bucket involved, and this morning I was able to get a good look at her udder without any reaction at all as soon as her bucket was empty.
Undoubtedly part of our attraction to Shelley is her foals, who like their dam seem especially interested in the humans in their world. Getting to interact daily with Willowtrail Black Robin, now four, is always entertaining in the best sense of the word, and I know that Willowtrail Spring Maiden has captivated her owner. The stories he tells never fail to brighten my day.
Shelley is about to become a grandmother for the first time. I was a little aghast when I realized this the other day. And since my husband is a grandfather, it gives those two yet another thing in common. Perhaps I do need to be jealous of Shelley. Except of course there is that fact that my husband and I are married…!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2012