I’m thankful to be back to doing almost all my pony chores. I still need to wear a plastic glove to protect the bandage on my injury. What an opportunity that plastic glove has provided, though! How each pony has reacted to the sight and sound of crinkling reflective material on my hand has told me a lot about them and a lot about each of our relationships.
Initially of course they all showed that they noticed that my handwear was different. For some, that was the extent of their reaction. For a few, though, there was a desire to keep some distance away from my new clothing. Putting on rope halters has been an especially illuminating task because it requires the plastic glove to be around one eye and up and down between ear and throatlatch. I’ve felt complimented that some of my ponies have allowed haltering without any change in behavior. Others have had to get used to the idea.
What has amused me most has been the reaction of my foal Willowtrail Mountain Emma. When I am in the foaling stall cleaning up manure, she of course comes to investigate. My plastic-gloved hand is usually on the end of the shovel closest to her, so that’s what she encounters first. She apparently never got the message that plastic is something to be scared of because from the first encounter she’s been mouthing it. Now of course I’ve taken the opportunity to stroke her entire body with it. She thinks it’s entirely normal that a human has plastic on one hand!
I’ve just taken my first (very short) ride since my accident, and I’m very thankful that my mare was accommodating of plastic resting on her withers. Without thinking, I stroked another mare on her hips with my plastic glove, and I realized in hindsight she could have bucked but she didn’t. I may not have to wear the plastic glove much longer, but while it’s on, I’ll appreciate the opportunity to learn more about how my ponies perceive it.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2016
There are lots of stories like this one in What an Honor: A Dozen Years with Fell Ponies, available internationally on Amazon and by clicking here.