I’ve taught my five-year-old Fell Pony stallion Willowtrail Black Robin to pick up his feed bucket and hand it to me after he’s finished eating from it. This has been a morning ritual for many months. A few days ago I moved him to a larger paddock where I give him his bucket at one end and then feed him his hay at the other, so we haven’t been engaging in the feed bucket ritual.
This morning when I entered the paddock to feed him his hay, he took off for the far end of the paddock. I went into the hay shed, then looked up, and here comes Robin, carrying his feed bucket all the way from the other end of the paddock to me. I was stopped in my tracks by him voluntarily retrieving the bucket and bringing it to me.
When I realized what Robin was offering and I was over my surprise, I stopped what I was doing and went out and gave him a big hug. His variation on the bucket ritual, I thought, was quite creative and amazing! You never know what benefits partnering with ponies will bring!
(c) Jenifer Morrissey, 2013