What was your dream? You know, the one you carried for the longest, most persistent part of your childhood, hoping against hope that magic would make it happen. Mine was about a pony (no surprise there) and I held that dream with great specificity. He would be a brilliantly golden palomino with a white blaze, four white socks, and a flaxen mane and tail, modeled after Comanche, the mighty steed ridden by my Johnny West doll. Yes, you read correctly: a Johnny West doll, only, of course, since he was a man, he was marketed as an “action figure”, not a doll, but I was a child of the ’60s where girls didn’t play with action figures, they played with dolls; those were the rules.
I also had a Jane West doll, but Johnny had all the fun accessories, so my dream was informed by that — that is the point of a dream, isn’t it? To want the impossible? Anyway, back to the horse…..Comanche had movable joints which was a serious advancement in technology for the times.
I studied the pictures in my “All about Horses” book, so I could pose Comanche accurately.
I spent hours in the side yard, creating scenes in the lawn under the crabapple tree and the horses were always the heroes. A whole lot of time has passed since that dream lived strongest in me. Luckily, midway through my thirties some serious life experiences jostled me out of my pre-programmed march through adulthood and I created my own version of that dream — I found Jubilee. Having Jube opened the door for others: Filou, then Boo; Beamer, Loosa, Andante; then Legs; finally, the donks and Belle. Each and everyone of them was and is magical and deeply trodden into my heart. Jube and Filou are running free over the Rainbow Bridge now, but our life is full up with horses, enough to make any girl smile herself to sleep. And I do.
So, then this happened:
This is Augustus and he is a Haflinger pony. Actually, he is OUR haflinger pony, officially since this last Sunday. He is a reincarnation of my dream pony. Here is the evidence:
You see it, right? It’s so perfect I could cry. Okay, my theory was we needed a pony for kids to ride. The pony had to be big enough for me to ride to keep him trained, but small enough to be approachable for kids. Being adorable and bearing a striking resemblance to my childhood dream pony are just bonuses. Augustus (or Gus as he was known at his previous barn) was left standing in a pasture under perhaps less than ideal circumstances, but a local trainer plucked him up and a lovely young woman has been putting rides on him. He has come a long way under their care, but he also has a lot left to learn. I am happy about that. I am happy about the chance to start over with a new one. He has so little of the language and communication that I relish with our current herd, but, he is smart and willing and very eager for praise. This will be a delight.
His presence has brought the life up a bit at the barn. Andante and the donkeys are aloof and Beamer is indignant, coming to the shared fence periodically through the day to express his concerns about hierarchy. Loosa and Legs are both curious, but Loosa has lingered the longest by his side, perhaps remembering what it was like when he was the new kid on the block.
Boo and Belle are kind to him and he is in a stall next to them, but they are too fragile to be in a pasture with him, so I alternate them: when the little ones are out, he’s in and vice versa. Once, in the “changing of the guards” Belle got a little flirty with the new guy and Boo lunged at him and bit him in the neck — a clear pronouncement to “stay away from my woman”! I have spent lots of time with him in small chunks throughout the day. I want him to understand all good things come from me; that I am the source of his food and entertainment and safety. I think it is already working.
Marco is keeping a watchful eye. He is worried when Beamer comes to the fence and squeals at the little guy and when I put the halter and rope on to do some groundwork, Marco insists on being inside the fence.
So here’s the truth of it: my heart is bursting with happiness about this new addition to our family. Here is another truth: I can’t believe I’m worthy of this. I can’t believe that, oh by the way, my deepest, most heartfelt, hang-onto-it-with-both-hands childhood dream wasn’t foolish and in vain. The dream had the ability to happen and to happen to me.
It just took a while.
I hope, oh how I hope, that Augustus and I are good together; so good that Augustus becomes the real-life dream pony experience for a little girl or boy in my life now or one who will come into my life. I could not think of anything more perfect and wonderful than that. Right, Augustus?