Trudy Andrew | Canadian Author

Pony Tails

Just Another Dog

Chauncey really was, more like owning another dog, than a pony. If we were home, he was loose in the yard. He’d greet visitors just like Buster and Bubba did, then after them Hemi, though his enthusiasm did tend to annoy her a bit. After all, she was the official greeter and protector of the domain, not him. Chauncey ignored her bossiness and complaints, to greet people anyway. It was always a bit of a competition, as Hemi would do her best to be first. It was an amusing sight, old pony and old dog both creaking along, to see what there was to see.
The problem with having a pony that was so good, so trouble free and smart, is this. We would run into town, and forget that he was loose. It wasn’t like he’d go anywhere, as he generally stayed home, but once in a while, especially as the summer wore on, he’d go graze in the ditch. There’s some really lovely, tasty grass growing in the ditches around here. It’s pretty much the same as our pastures, except that no horses have been eating it. I can’t say I blame him for occasionally venturing into the ditches, as the grass was pretty tempting, but I would tether him instead of leaving him loose. He was taught to tether out, and was our great grass trimmer. He honestly did a better job than a machine, and enjoyed the work as well. So, we’d run into OakBank and forget to put Chauncey away before we left. More often than not, we’d come home to have Hemi and Chauncey come trotting up to greet us upon our return. Once in a while, there’d be no Chauncey coming to greet us. Hemi would be as pleased as could be, greeting us with a huge doggy smile and slowly waging tail. Those were the times that we would find him put away in a pen. The second we exited the vehicle, he’d be whinnying to us.
“Hey, let me out of here! Somebody put me in here! I want out!”
We humans would share a grin. We knew where he was, out back somewhere.
“Chauncey, where are you, buddy?”
“Back here, in the round pen. Let me out!”
It was a good thing Chauncey was one of those ponies that could go in with any horse, even the stallion, as we often found that he’d been put into a pen with another horse. It was an adorable sight to behold, Chauncey peeking through bottom planks, whichever horse he’d been placed with, looking over the top. The gate would be opened, Chauncey would happily trot out to go about his important business, and everything would once again be fine.
I don’t know, if there was ever a smarter pony. Hubby often worked on vehicles or equipment at the back of the quonset. I don’t know who told Chauncey that the feed barrel was in there, but he knew. If he wasn’t watched, he would sneak in there, take the lid off the bin and try to grab a mouthful if he could. The little begger knew he wasn’t allowed, because the second hubby returned to the quonset from getting a tool or supplies from the shed, he’d hurriedly trot out of there. It was amazing, but that pony could be way out on the lawn, yet somehow seemed to know exactly when hubby was away from the back door of the building. He took every opportunity to get in there. Though he never had enough time to grab more than a mouthful, he certainly made a mess, if he had the chance to dump the bin on its side. Never mind that, it wasn’t easy to remove the lid, yet he managed it. As naughty as that was, we wish he was still around to do that now. He was the most adorable, entertaining pony. Whether he was in the barn, out back or meandering around the yard, when I walked out of the house and called to him, he would always answer. Not only would he answer once, but every time he heard his name.
He’s been gone over a year now, but I still miss that cheerful whinny of his. He was always excited to see us. He was a wonderful babysitter, oblivious to his diminutive size and thought he was capable of anything, and was the best pony, kids could ever wish for. He was a neighbourhood favourite, and more than just a pony. He was a loved member of the family. So often we see ads of people who sell their old ponies and horses. The ad will say something along the lines of ‘kids have grown out of this wonderful mare/gelding that has taught them how to ride, has always taken good care of them. A new mount has been purchased. Must sell by this or that date, or will take to auction. It’s a sad reflection on society that the reward for being wonderful for years is being shipped, when you’re no longer useful. This doesn’t happen here. We value the devotion our animals have given us, and return that with a home for life, even though they get old and decrepit. What does it teach a child but that animals are disposable if one is so easily cast aside, in order to get another?

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About Trudy Andrew

Trudy Andrew lives on a small farm just east of Winnipeg, Manitoba, where she enjoys her Morgan horses. A dreamer since she was a child, its no surprise to those who know her well that her imagination would find an outlet in writing, as it has in the past through artwork.
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 Oakbank, MB