Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring Cleaning, With Fur

The maples are flowering. I hope the photo doesn't send you any allergens.


We took a couple of hours this morning for sunny day clean up of two very dirty ponies.



And then a ride. I can't bring myself (still) to photograph the girls riding. But trust me, Two Spot and Madeleine shared a nice uneventful ride. She wore her helmet, as always. Dolly tried her best to distract us and get the attention, as every Shetland should. But Two Spot remained fully focused on his 60-pound charge as though the long workless winter was of no consequence to his perfect manners. He even used his gentlemanly good tricks to bow down for the princess to dismount. Manoman I love that horse.
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Although Two Spot didn't witness the fall from Seven that caused M to break both of her arms, I have this fantasy that maybe he knows. Maybe the ponies talk about it at night. Sort of like Black Beauty. Remember Merry Legs and all the rest? Remember their conversations after the peoplefolk retired for the evening? I maybe believed in those stories too much as a girl.
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Also my parents had a talent for choosing what are known as "bomb-proof" horses. My girlfriends and I would lie on horseback in the summer sunshine, completely without saddles or bridles or a care in the world. I remember clearly the way my pure black Arabian mare radiated the sun's heat back at me as I read book after book with my head rested on her rump, one arm flung across my forehead for the glare, the other arm holding my book aloft.
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For crying out loud, that was dangerous. Other summer afternoons found us, my best friends Teri and Jennifer and I, STANDING on horseback to reach the highest cherries in the trees. Um. Standing. Alternately, when the cherries were done and the weather was too hot to read, we'd trot to Teri's place and ride the horses right into the small man-made lake at the upper end of her pasture. With nothing but halters on the horses and cutoffs and tank tops on ourselves, we'd float backward from the manes of our horses while their hooves stirred up the coolest water from deep in the pond. In the fall we regularly got in lots of trouble with Jenny's parents for running the fat off the cattle and sheep while we played rodeo. In the winter we huddled with steam breath rising in one Pony Club barn or another.
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Crikey, but did our parents know where we were? I'm sure they did, but my memories are so independent of parents that it sobers me to realize that my oldest children are coming to that age. They've always had opinions that stun me; now they have activities and interests that may or may not include me. The best I can do is choose bomb-proof horses, cross my fingers, and hope to sneak backstage periodically.

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And stick around to clean up the brushes.

4 comments:

Misty said...

Just lovely... I love horses...

Barb said...

It sounds pretty darn idyllic, actually. Don't you think we've gone too far in the other direction, with our helicopter parenting? OR maybe it's just that the world seems like a much more dangerous place and the stakes are higher for a moment of our inattention.

Beth E. said...

I hopped over to visit you after reading your comment to Alexis. It touched my heart!

You have a great blog and a beautiful family...my goodness, your girls are ADORABLE!

What a wonderful childhood you had! Unfortunately, I've only been on horses two times in my life...both were as a teenager, and both were bad experiences!!!

I've enjoyed reading your posts. You have a great sense of humor!

Blessings,
Beth E. :o)

QuiltedSimple said...

This brings back such memories of when I'd ride and show horses without any fear whatsoever (jumping bareback, doing "tricks") and to think - when Jessie rides I am petrified she is going to fall.....how did our parents let us do all we did - with no helmets even????
But what great memories your girls will have of wonderful times with the best companions a girl can have...
Kris