Thursday, February 20, 2020
Yesterday, while leading the horses, I suddenly felt a resistance against the shortest lead rope. Turning, there was Pimmy, stopped, eyeing something suspicious. I looked up in time to see several deer fleeing ahead of our approach. Meanwhile, unlike Pimmy, both horses seemed only slightly interested in those deer. I tugged on Pimmy’s lead rope, until finally, she started moving in unhappy jerk-steps.
Sometimes that’s what it’s like to walk with my two horses and the donkey. The horses move along, usually nicely, and mostly, so does Pimmy–unless she decides to balk. Then for me, the game becomes one of, “let’s keep going” to the horses, and tugs to keep Pimmy moving. Frustrating enough that I fantasize turning loose the donkey and letting her follow us.
No dice, because she follows weirdly. Maybe she’ll walk 20 or 30 feet behind, or mosey over to the other side of the road–pausing to graze, or she’ll walk ahead in the street’s middle, leading us by 20 or 30 feet. No worries that she’ll not stay near the horses, but street-weavings are dangerous. I’m too burdened with the horses to control or easily catch loose-Pimmy. Knowing where we’re headed, she prefers traveling on her own.
I created that independent little monster during years of horseback riding. Pimmy always followed loosely on trails, wouldn’t leave her horses for anything, but sometimes fell behind to graze on something delicious. I’d holler for her and pause to wait–often rewarding, for not much is cuter than seeing a donkey cantering to catch up. Its hooves, set differently from a horse’s, make its hurries a little stiffer but capable.
Pimmy is a hoot, and now, she’s training me, to lead two ways simultaneously. I must move along the horses while pulling on an oft-reluctant follower. This process is wearing, has me muttering in irritation through our distance. But payoffs are perfect, we arrive safely at destinations.
Dear Friends: The biggest and best payoffs: these animals keeping me strong and afoot. Diana