Friday, February 26, 2010

Belle Pony

This is Belle Pony as apposed to Bell the horse. When we were growing up we had both a horse and a pony named Belle. The pony came first and she stayed around the longest. Many of my childhood adventures have Belle Pony in them. Like most ponies she had some ornery habits.
When you went to get on you had to be sure you had the off rein pulled tight to keep her head turned away. If you didn't she'd nip you on the knee as you got up. She could open any feed bin no matter how clever you thought you were about closing it up tight and pony proofing it. As a consequence of her over eating she foundered and needed careful hoof care and a watchful eye.
Oh and I swear she deliberately stepped on my toes.

But for all of her less than perfect ponyness, she was my favorite and my partner in adventure. When we were very little my mom and my grandma would load all of us kids on her bareback. At the time that was 3-4 kids on board. Then they would lead us around the field to check the corn. When the pony went around the corner we would all slip off into a heap. :) Grandma would put us all back on again and off we'd go.
My best friend and I used to try to "roman ride" one Belle - like in the circus. One of us standing up on her broad behind while the other one lounged her in a circle until we lost our balance and fell or slid down to sit on her back. It's a miracle we never got hurt.

I can't even count the lazy afternoons when I packed a "lunch" and headed out alone to wander over the farm. I'd find a likely spot for my picnic and tie Belle to a tree. More often than not while I was nibbling and daydreaming she would  untie herself and light out for home leaving me to hoof it home on my own.

Bell taught me about the circle that is life. The picture above is of Belle with one of her babies. Belle's was the first foal I saw born. And one year Belle was expecting and she caught pneumonia. She was my pony so it was my job to go out and give her an antibiotic shot each day. She coughed and she coughed for what seemed like forever to me. When she foaled the baby was stillborn. I buried the tiny foal in the rain up on the little hill behind the barn with a little stick cross to mark the spot. Then I led Belle up the hill so she would know where her baby was. I cried. Belle nuzzled my hand and we both trudged back down the hill with water dripping off of our noses.

Belle lived to give my children rides when they were small. She died at the ripe old age of 36 on the home farm where we grew up.

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