I went through the gate and greeted each of the mares there individually. It was after dark, and I knew who was who as much by their positions relative to each other as by their appearance. It had been a long day with unexpected interruptions from a nail in a tire of my pickup necessitating a trip to town for repair and my husband needing help an hour away loading a recalcitrant piece of equipment. I had squeezed in a pony training session between sundown and dark, putting off my dinner probably longer than I should have.
I made my way between the mares and headed toward the hay yard to get them their last feeding of the day. I felt, more than saw, a pony walking close beside me. I stopped and so did she, instantly. We were already nearly touching, so it was natural to reach out and pet her, and then all of a sudden my arms were around her neck, and I was leaning heavily on her shoulder. She stood completely still, letting me take a moment to release and receive. I hadn’t realized how much I needed a hug.
After I stood up on my own again, I stepped back to say thank you. I realized, though, that I wasn’t entirely sure which mare deserved my appreciation. I cheated to find the answer by flipping her forelock up to reveal a star. It was Willowtrail Wild Rose, my heart pony, of course. I should have known since I often give her a hug so she knows I like them. Usually, though, when Rose offers something, it’s a tease such as attempting to take my hat as in this picture. Her offer of a hug meant a lot by comparison. What a blessing life is with these ponies.
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2018
More stories about life with Fell Ponies can be found in my book What an Honor, available internationally by clicking here or on the book cover.