Ponying the Pony

Last week Chance, my faithful Thoroughbred, and Bugsy, the perfect pony, conspired to split me like a wishbone.

The nerve of those two.

My plan was great on paper: exercise horse and pony at one time.

I sat astride Chance, leading Bugsy by my side. And I was feeling pretty smug about my horsemanship. I had complete command over two beasts. And off our home turf, no less!

Bugsy trotted dutifully along, never darting ahead or lagging behind. I held Chance’s reins in one hand and the lead in my other and we jogged smartly along the hay field and the neighborhood loop.

But the second time out, Bugsy wasn’t so keen. Why slog on some forced march when you can stand and eat?¬†Bugsy silently complained by mimicking a ship’s anchor. That’s what it felt like… dragging 600 pounds of pony behind me. I clucked and tugged on the lead. He raised his head but barely shuffled along.

And then, passing the neighbor’s farm, we encountered the dreaded Highland cattle. The Wookie beasts. They grazed by the drive, a few strands of wire holding them back.

Attack is imminent! Chance seemed to say, as he snorted and plunged down the path. ¬†Bugsy didn’t care a whiff about the shaggy pair. A cow’s a cow, said Bugsy. I’d rather be an anchor.

So, with the horse tearing forward and the other lagging behind, my arms stretched out like taffy.

As I arched my back over Chance hindquarters — clinging desperately to Bugsy’s lead — I thought, maybe this what yoga’s like… stretching the body to reach extreme flexibility.

But yoga’s supposed to bring inner peace and serenity. And I didn’t feel serene.

I wanted to club my horse over the head. And return my shoulder to its socket joint.

Somehow I recovered without falling off and decided that next time, I’d drag Bugsy with Hadley on board.

As for the other rabble-rousing cows — the future hamburgers — they continue wreaking havoc on my horse’s psyche. The latest scare tactic: pushing an overturned feed tub around the field. One afternoon a particularly bored bovine noisily nosed his blue, plastic tub across the pasture. As I rode by, Chance quivered in fear.

But when the cow got the tub stuck on his head? That scared the pants off of the cow and horse.

I wish I’d snapped a photo of the bucket-headed cow. It would have been a great shot.

But I was focused on survival as Chance streaked across a field.

This time, we had no anchor to slow us down.