The day started early. Willowtrail Mountain Storm had to be in town for appointments prior to his trip to his new home. Since it was to be Storm’s longest trip in the trailer and his first off the farm, I chose to have him travel with his father and paddock-mate Guards Apollo. I fed them before dawn, and we left just after first light.
Storm made my day by handling lots of ‘firsts’ without much issue. He traveled with a pony other than his mother for the first time. He traveled in a stall in the trailer instead of loose. He unloaded and loaded at the vet clinic despite never having been there before. He endured being poked with a needle by a stranger (though not without a little dancing; while I hoped for better, I could hardly blame him.) He stood quietly in the trailer while we attended a short meeting. Given the number of ‘firsts,’ how could Storm not make my day!?
At the other end of the day, it was Willowtrail Storm Princess’s turn. I had entered her paddock with my wheelbarrow to fetch a bale of hay. For some reason, most of the ponies in that paddock have decided that the wheelbarrow is a monster. Their heads pop up when they see me approaching, and before I get too close they trot off in the opposite direction.
On this occasion, Willowtrail Wild Rose, who is the exception in that herd, met me at the gate and was walking alongside as I headed towards the hay stack. We were passing Princess, who was about fifteen feet away, and I was watching her to see how she would react this time. When she indicated curiosity rather than alarm, I stopped, hoping to encourage her to approach. She did so, tentatively, and I stayed still and told her she was a good girl. She stretched her neck out to sniff the wheelbarrow then eventually stepped close enough that she could put her nose into the belly of ‘the beast’ to see what it contained. Only when she left calmly and of her own accord did I resume my travels. Like Storm, Princess made my day by accepting my requests that they do things that might not be their first choice, from traveling in a big metal box on wheels to approaching a scary metal tub on a single wheel. It’s such a privilege to share life with these ponies.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2014
If you enjoy stories like this one, you might also enjoy the book A Humbling Experience, available internationally by clicking here.