“Allison forgot her boots”. This does not surprise me. It’s the first full week of school and even the nuerotypical kids are discombobulated. Fortunately, Allison lives all of five minutes away. Anita said, “Yeah, if this were Garrods, she wouldn’t be riding! I’d say, ‘too bad, kid!’ ” But it’s not Garrod’s, so Anita turns around and goes back home while Allison and I start in on the paddock, or rather, I start in on cleaning the paddock. Allison works laconically and ineffectively at sweeping up the scattered, uneaten hay. A huge Dr. Who fan, I’d expected Allison to be uncontainable with stories about the latest Dr. Who premiere. “Tell me about the new Dr. Who?” Allison: “It was OK.” “What was the story?” Allison: “Oh, they had the old Dr. Who on for five minutes.” I finally gave up and started mucking the stalls, at which point Allison says, “common core says we are suppose to have two hours of math class a day.” She looks at me glaringly and continues, “I was hoping for a good math teacher. I don’t have a good math teacher.” Somehow I don’t think it would kill the schools to listen to some of this feedback. I’m sure Allison is correct about that teacher. Her face looks like a storm cloud.
There is more to tell about school. As Allison talks, her mood gradually changes. When I emerge from the stalls out into the paddock, I find Allison in the middle of putting a very thick, white saddle pad on CG. Me: “Allsion, that’s Stoney’s pad.” Allison, “Oh yeah.” She returns Stoney’s pad to the tack shack and pulls out the brown pad that is just a tad too small, but has the many hearts on it. When Allison goes to get the saddle, I notice that CG is neither tied up nor even wearing a halter. Allison is being patient beyond belief; gentle and slow in her movement with lots of caresses and praise. Allison tells me she’s going to try and completely tack up CG without a halter and without CG putting her ears back. On the off chance that someone who doesn’t ride with me reads this, they should know that not only does CG put her ears back frequently when being tacked, she also usually tries to bite. But she was doing neither.
When it came time for the girth, CG ran away. I thought, “Well, so much for that idea.” It took about ten minutes, but after taking to opportunity to respond to any number of text messages, I looked up to find CG fully tacked, still without halter. Allison explained that she wasn’t able to fully tighten the girth. But it was good enough for me.
Allison waiting to mount up until we got to the bottom of the hill, but before doing so she said, “Today isn’t a ‘make the pony happy day’, it’s a ‘make the pony confident day’.” I’ll say.
We only rode to Campo where she untacked CG and both CG and Stoney were turned loose and kicked up their heels in the Jensen’s pasture.
CG and Stoney really did need a walk so I talked Allison into riding CG for a bit to keep Savannah company while she rode Freedom on the Clark’s field loop. I followed on the bike with Stoney in one hand and Dante in the other. Half way down Fremont, I said, “I feel like I’m a circus act.” Savannah said, “for that you should be riding a unicycle.”
Allison and I parted ways with Savannah at Alexander Place and returned to the barn via the lollipop trail. Since I had Stoney, I led the way. After about five minutes of watching me stumble and swear, Allison said, “I can take Dante.” She repeated this several times over the course of the next five minutes, the last time having a note of desperation in her voice. It was just too much to have to watch the ridiculousness of trying to ride a bicycle while ponying the stubborn gelding and the not very well trained, 100lb dog. With her taking Dante and me leading Stoney, she said we were now a matched set.
Looks like this fall, most Monday’s will be just Allison and I. I am looking forward to it very much.