My husband’s grandchildren came for their annual summer visit. Two years before, they’d enjoyed spending time with the ponies, but last year not so much, so I stayed focused on preparing dinner when they arrived. I didn’t want to be disappointed by their lack of interest, so I was thrilled when I learned their interest had been renewed.
My husband’s son says that his youngest, the only daughter, is often the leader when it comes to new or unusual experiences, so I expect I have her to thank. The kids were feeding grass through the fence to all the ponies near the house, and one in particular they had named Superwoman. I’m sure Rose earned that name by strongly and repeatedly running the other ponies off when grass was being offered. The increased sophistication of the naming was notable. Two years before, Rose had earned the name Spot because she has a white star. Another pony they called Noddy because she would bob her head when she thought grass was coming her way.
After dinner, I went out to feed and joined the kids and adults at the fence to see the interactions. When the attraction of the ponies and especially Superwoman to the youngest became apparent, I asked if she wanted to ride her. A smile slowly spread across her face, so I went to grab a halter then quickly ducked through the fence and hopped on Rose’s back to make sure she was in the right frame of mind since I hadn’t been on her back in weeks. She was her normal, calm, and cooperative self, so I led her back to the crowd, and Grandpa lifted granddaughter onto Superwoman Pony’s back. As I led Rose in a large circle with father and grandfather walking on either side of the precious cargo, I regularly checked on our passenger. Her smile kept growing, and it was amazing to see how naturally she sat. When I lifted her down, I told her she was the only one besides me who’d ever ridden Superwoman Pony. I was rewarded with another beautiful smile.
Having watched his sister having fun and getting attention, the oldest brother then said he wanted a ride. He’d just returned from summer camp where horseback riding was in the top five favorite activities of the week. I thought perhaps the lead-reining on a pony that I was offering would be too tame by comparison, but he seemed to thoroughly enjoy his ride on Superwoman pony, too. Not to be left out, brother number two quietly took a ride, too. The boys sat as naturally on Rose as their sister had. And brother number two, normally quiet and stone-faced, had a smile that almost equaled his sister’s at the end of his ride.
Darkness was falling, so our pony time came to an end, but my day had been made by the kids’ interest in my hooved friends.
The next day was the last day of their stay. We had been away at work all day, and I was exhausted and had to go to bed. What I learned second-hand, though, made my day again. Grandpa had gone to their cabin to say goodbye, and as dusk approached, the kids said they wanted to come say goodbye to the ponies. Despite protests from the adults about the late hour, they did just that. I am grateful to Superwoman Pony for making such an impression on city kids who have so many different opportunities. I’ll hope that next year they’ll return, and Superwoman Pony can reprise her role.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2018