I had the most amazing experience with Mya the Wonder Pony on a manure moving job. We’ve been working together for nearly seventeen years and moving manure together for over fifteen years, so perhaps that explains what happened. All I know is there’s always a chance to see something new!
I hadn’t worked Mya in a few months, but she was as willing as ever as I haltered her, groomed her, fly-sprayed her, and harnessed her. I then ground drove her up to the barnyard. I had previously moved her work cart and filled it. It was in my stallion Apollo’s pen, and he was tied to the fence. As we approached the barnyard, Mya slowed down, and I saw her look around as though she was a little confused and uncertain.
When we got to where she could see into Apollo’s pen, it was clear that she saw the cart. She quit weaving, started walking faster, and made a beeline through the gate; all confidence and certainty had returned. Then without prompting she began turning and spinning her rear end into place and trying to back between the shafts. I had to slow her down to keep her from bumping her bum against the shafts. Eventually we got her hitched properly, and I shook my head and laughed. This pony is unlike any other that I work in her willingness to work any time any where no matter how much time she’s had off. Even then, I’ve never seen her try to hitch herself before!
There are of course problems with ponies who anticipate the work to be done. If they make a wrong decision, there can be safety issues immediately. Fortunately for Mya and me, we know each other well enough that we didn’t have any problems as she continued to ‘get the job done’ by heading to the compost pile almost without any guidance from me. And it wasn’t as though she was anxious to get the job over with, as she patiently and quietly waited while I got the cart emptied out, just as you see in the picture.
What I found amazing was that when we had gotten to the barnyard, Mya’s slowing down and looking around were due to her looking for a cart to be hitched to and not seeing one. How she sped up and tried to get herself between the shafts when she did see the cart made it clear that indeed that’s what her prior confusion and uncertainty were about. This pony is twenty three years old, and to still have that sort of work ethic is what still makes her the standard by which all other ponies are judged. If she isn’t my ‘pony of a lifetime,’ I’m going to be extraordinarily blessed by whatever pony fills that role!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2015
Jenifer Morrissey is the author of several books, including Fell Ponies: Observations on the Breed, the Breed Standard, and Breeding, available internationally by clicking here.