It’s almost like a fairy tale. The favorite daughter goes off into the big world, leaving her family behind in tears. A book is written to honor the many ways she touched their lives in the short time she lived with them. She lives life away for a number of years then returns to her humble origins changed. The habits and manners developed away don’t work so well back home. And how the family treated a young girl doesn’t meet the expectations of the young woman now before them. All must adjust to life together again to make sure another happy ending can be written.
Willowtrail Spring Maiden returned to Willowtrail Farm a few weeks ago. She left here at barely five months old and is now nearly four years old. Madie (rhymes with lady) left gaping holes in our hearts when she departed for her new home as a weanling, and when I was given the opportunity to bring her back, I didn’t take much convincing. That same lovely personality is still there inside what I consider a drop-dead-gorgeous Fell Pony body. We’re still getting reacquainted of course.
Our first opportunity for getting reacquainted came in the middle of the night in Fort Collins where we met the transport truck. Despite the odd hour and odd location, Madie stepped right into our horse trailer. That was a good first impression! Then it was clear that she was quite stiff from her long trip across country, so I immediately unloaded her, and we walked down the road towards the highway together to try to work out some kinks before the more-than-two-hour trip home. I was left with a good second impression, too. She wasn’t bothered by the traffic before us or the unfamiliar surroundings. At that point I wasn’t too surprised when she loaded into the horse trailer again without question. Is it possible she remembered me and she was therefore comfortable with all the strangeness? I don’t really know.
We arrived home at 4:30 in the morning, and of course the herd started calling when the horse trailer rolled up and a pony alighted. We put Madie into the same paddock she’d left from four years ago, and she quickly settled into our routines. Does she remember this place? Again, I don’t know, but she seems content to be here.
My husband and I both got a laugh out of his first handling of Madie. Just like her mother when she first came to Willowtrail Farm, Madie stepped on Don’s foot the first time out. Nonetheless, he’s happy to have her back, too.
In my experience as an equine steward, there’s nothing like hoof-trimming to test a relationship. Madie’s hooves needed attention as soon as she arrived, and I was again pleased that we got through that chore without too much discussion. Every day she greets me vocally when I appear outdoors, so I look forward to continuing to get reacquainted with my lady Madie.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2015
If you’d like to read the book about Madie, it’s available internationally by clicking here.