I now know that Chester, my one-month-old Fell Pony colt, has seen a moose. I was mounted on his mom Shelley, and we were trail riding on the woods loop. It was where the timber was its thickest, but I could see a brown form in the distance. It was a cow with last year’s calf at foot. From my high perspective, I was able to see them before either pony or my dog did.
Cows are known to be aggressive when they have calves at foot. I could see that the cow was very close to our trail, so I announced our presence and asked her to move off. She didn’t, just standing and watching us get closer. I then felt, as well as saw, Shelley register that we had company in the woods. I now had two mamas facing off. If it had been just my dog and me on foot, I would have headed in the opposite direction, but somehow mounted, I felt that Shelley’s size, being three-quarters that of the moose, was enough margin for safety.
I called out a few more times in case the rumor of a moose’s poor eyesight was accurate. When the cow finally began to move off with her calf in front of her, I saw Chester register that we had company, too. He certainly wasn’t bothered at all, and Shelley never missed a step as we drew closer to where the moose had been.
I have taken detours enough times over the years when I’ve seen moose in the woods that I admit to feeling triumphant this time. I was grateful for Shelley’s presence, and her mama’s protective posture, that allowed us to have the moose give way instead of us. And of course I once again didn't have a camera with me!
© Jenifer Morrissey, 2018
More stories like this one about life with Fell Ponies can be found in my book What an Honor, available internationally by clicking here or on the book cover.