Ponying the Pony

I’ve had a few close calls in the saddle, in part due to rogue cows.

But last week my Thoroughbred and the perfect pony conspired to split me like a wishbone.

The nerve of those two.

I was ponying Bugsy from Chance — riding the horse while leading the pony — and feeling pretty smug about my horsemanship. I hadn’t ponied in years and here I was, exhibiting a handy command over both animals. Such competency in the saddle!

That was our first outing when Bugsy trotted dutifully along, never darting ahead or lagging behind. But the next time out, Bugsy wasn’t so keen on a forced march. Why trot around the neighborhood when you can stand still and eat?

So he lodged a passive agressive complaint: he imitated an anchor tossed off the side of a ship. At least that’s what it felt like… dragging 600 pounds of pony behind me. I clucked at him and tugged on the lead; he raised his head but resisted, barely shuffling along.

It was about that time when Chance spied the highland cows. Those odd wookie beasts. And they were  right by the road, separated by a few wisps of wire.

Attack is imminent! Chance seemed to say as he tried to bolt down the road. But Bugsy could have cared less about the livestock. A cow’s a cow, he apparently thought. Besides, he was too busy pretending to be a deployed anchor. So with the horse plunging forward and the other lagging behind, my arms felt stretched by taffy.

As I arched my back over Chance hindquarters, struggling to hang onto Bugsy line I thought, “this must be what’s yoga’s like…your body being stretched to such extremes.

But I didn’t feel flexible or revalized. I didn’t feel yoga relaxed. I wanted to return my shoulder to its socket joint and then club my horse over the head.

I did recover and next time, I’m going to drag that pony around with a stocky 4 year old on board, clad in cowboy boots.

And as for the other cows — the neighbor hamburgers — that crew continues to wreak havoc on my poor horse’s psyche. The latest scare tactic: pushing around an overturned, electric blue feed tub in the field. One particularly bored bovine used his head to roll it all over the place. But when he got the tub stuck on his head? That had an especially frightful effect on both cow and horse.

I would have loved to have snapped a photo of the bucket-headed cow — but I was trying to preserve life and limb. Once again, Chance was streaking across a field. And this time, we had no anchor to slow us down.