Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Pony (Almost) in My Lap

I trimmed my little pony today. I did most of my horses' trimming for twenty years, except for tricky cases or corrections. That went out the window when I joined the ranks of the unipeds. Forever, I assumed. 

But in a moment of weakness a while back I bought a mini colt. My logic was pretty good, in a horse-aholic's twisted way: I'd teach him to drive, get a cart, and use the mini-size harness my daughter bought half a dozen years ago. (Never mind that the harness is still in the box because she never got around to driving her mini either...) I thought a miniature horse was a good compromise, half way between a full-sized horse and the model horses I started with as a kid which I feel destined to return to in my eventual fossil-hood. And I can drive a pony cart with my prosthesis on, which would solve one problem I have riding without it.

The colt's a sorrel, unregistered, not well-bred, with a blond tail that drags on the ground.  A friend of a friend sold her collection of minis because of her illness. I just took a look of course, to be polite, but this little guy sauntered up to me with brassy curiosity and immediately I remembered the new harness in the box at home. 

It's been two years and I admit I haven't had the harness on him...but he's mannerly and sweet and a blast to watch gallop around the pond or play tag with my older daughter's St. Bernard. And I trim him myself.  Usually I work the nippers with one hand and hold up his foot with the other because I can't put his hoof between my knees. The rasp is easier, one-handed. Today my organic knee began to make these ominous crunching sounds as I leaned over the little hoof. It's been doing this a lot lately. It doesn't hurt but it sounds as though the brittle pieces of joint and knee cap are all grinding together under the skin like a tin can of rocks.

Well, hey. The ground was dry (too damn dry for March in New York state. Mud season is a time honored tradition you can count on no matter how much or little snow we get) so I sat down. I felt a little ridiculous: I spent twenty-odd years as a fervent, conscientious instructor with posted rules and regulations in my barn and a pristine safety record. I was a stickler for correct positions and thinking ahead to what a horse might do. But I've punched out on that clock. It's time for practicality. I tried kneeling as I trimmed, and that worked pretty well...but I gave in and sat down. Gave my little pony a manicure. Why not, you know?

He's no toy and I know it. People get in trouble thinking minis aren't wired exactly like their twelve-hundred pound counterparts, usually with a Napoleon complex to boot. But I've taught him to behave, and I actually put a halter and line on him and did a little ground work refresher course, you know, before I sat him in my lap.

I'm still teetering a little on my increased-height prosthesis. That thigh's a little wobbly this week between the extra work it's doing and the latest pummeling (ahem: lengthening) work by my massage therapist. I think it'll steady out pretty soon. 

Then it'll be time to get that harness out of the box and put the little guy to work.

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