Sam and Badger moved in with us back in March. They were my solution to regain Reggie for myself. Last year, every time I would put on boots to go out and ride, Ian came right behind spouting that he was ready to ride “Ian’s Reggie.” When I saw an ad for two sweet-natured shetlands, I thought this may be my chance to get my horse back but keep Ian interested in riding.
Since Sam and Badger came to stay, we’ve been busy with life, summer heat rolled in, and work life left me tired and not always excited to get the ponies out for Ian to ride. The poor guy has finally got to the point that he rarely asks to ride his ponies since I’ve so frequently turned him down. But now there’s a nice breeze as the seasons begin to change, and I find my old self returning a bit more as I wander outside with a halter and brush every evening.
Ian has been enthusiastic to join me, and come clomping through the gate loudly with his gigantic cowboy boots and his shiny black helmet, but he’s been getting bored quickly. After taking the time to brush and tack up, he only rides for just a lap or two around our field before getting antsy and declaring that he’s done. My mom is the first one to diagnose the problem. She made it seem painfully clear when she pointed out, “When does Ian ever want to sit still? He’s just not a sit-down kind of guy.” And you know what, she’s right! I’ve been encouraging Ian to sit quietly in the tack with a steady leg as I try to prepare his body to work independently of his hands. I’ve been reluctant to give him reins as I don’t want him to balance on his poor ponies’ faces. I’ve also failed give him any physical tasks to accomplish.
So last night, I told Ian I was going out to brush Reggie. He ran behind, tugging his boots on and snatched his helmet off the hook by the backdoor. We took halters out in the field, and he declared that he wanted to brush Sam this time. I buckled Sam’s halter on, tied a knot in Reggie’s rope halter, and we headed up to brush. After tying the two equines a little ways apart, Ian snatched his hoof pick out of his bag (something he’s never asked to use) and informed me that he was going to clean Sam’s feet. I picked up all of Sam’s feet and held them while Ian cleaned. Then I gave him a curry and left him to brush round and round while I cleaned Reggie’s feet. Halfway through Reggie’s first foot, I realized that Ian was quite. Too quiet. Toddler concentrating on something much harder than brushing quiet. I looked up and saw Sam standing alone with no Ian in sight. I quickly dropped Reg’s hoof and spun around, frantically searching for Ian. And I found him. He was about 20 feet away from Sam, holding up Badger’s rear hoof and raking it out with a hoof pick. Did I mention that we didn’t put a halter on Badger and tie him up? Badger may win best pony of the year award.
After I steered Ian back towards brushing Sam, I attempted once more to clean Reggie’s feet. Moving more quickly this time, I rushed through two feet, then heard Ian’s voice barking orders: “No, Dominick! That is Ian’s! Stop it! Stop it! Put it back!” This time I abandoned Reggie to go and take a three year old’s grooming tote away from…a donkey. Dominick was up to his old antics, and failing to find my grooming tote (which was safely in the tack room of the horse trailer, out of his reach) he zeroed in on Ian’s equipment. After picking up Ian’s scattered brushes, chasing down the donkey, and taking the tote away from the donkey, Ian and I both got back to grooming. Despite our eventful grooming session, Ian was no where ready to turn Sam loose and be finished with his pony. At this point, Ian announced he wanted to take his pony for a walk. This means that Reggie and I tried to keep up as Ian drug Sam all over the field at a trot.
I’m finally beginning to realize that my equine interactions are going to be different for the next several years, and never have I had as much appreciation as I should have for the years my mom dealt with doubling while I constantly demanded “bounce, Stormy, bounce!”