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Sunday, August 21, 2011

Twilight and Sunny

We had a pair of Shetland Ponies for a period of time when I was a child.  Twilight was the female and the mother to Sunny, the spunky little male.  Twilight was sweet-natured, gentle and easy to work with while Sunny was feisty, pig-headed and difficult.  I always got the impression that Mama Twilight was slightly disgusted with her baby-boy's behavior; but she also felt pride in how beautiful and strong he was so she indulged him and allowed him to have his way.  Funny how I did not recognize the human factor of us allowing him to get away with his naughty antics.

When we first got the ponies, I had friends who wanted to come and ride with me. Since my dad insisted the ponies needed exercise, I was happy to have help AND spend time with my friends.  The first time Julie came over, I 'graciously' gave her Sunny to saddle and ride.  We only had bareback saddles, which were basically just green saddle-shaped pads with straps and buckles to fasten under the belly of the horse. I handed Julie her saddle and bridle and went to work getting Twilight ready to ride.  Twilight stood patiently while I placed the saddle on her back and fastened the straps underneath her.  Then she opened her mouth and took the bit.  During this time, Sunny was shying away from Julie not allowing her to put the saddle on his back.  It took both of us to slap it on him and while she tightened and buckled the straps, I wrestled the bit between his obnoxious teeth.

Finally we were ready.  We headed towards the rodeo grounds with Twilight calmly walking down the side of the road without any coaxing while Sunny stood in the middle of the road ignoring Julie's every effort to get him to move.  I turned Twilight around and grabbed Sunny's bridle and led him the whole way.   Once we arrived at the rodeo arena, Sunny was more obliging and was actually handling pretty well.  We walked the circumference of the arena a time or two and then decided we would get them trotting and possibly even galloping so we could feel like real horsewomen.

We went to the far end of the arena to have the longest straight line.  Twilight was ahead as we started out when suddenly I heard a muffled screech; looking back over my shoulder I saw Julie and her saddle slide all the way UNDER Sunny's belly, leaving her head dangling inches from the ground between four trotting pony legs.

I leapt off Twilight and grabbed Sunny's bridle and pulled him to a stop. Julie let go, fell into the dirt, and quickly rolled away from Sunny's hooves.  After she got up and brushed off, she flat-out refused to ride Sunny any more.  She got on Twilight while I replaced Sunny's saddle and cinched down the straps.  This time, I gave him a knee to the belly so he would expel the air he was using to expand his tummy.  That trickster had learned to hold his breath so the straps would not buckle down tight.

It was not a very fun ride back home with fuming Julie and sulky Sunny.  I didn't have nearly so many offers to ride the ponies after that and those who did come always demanded to ride Twilight and I was left with ornery Sunny.

The best part of the whole experience is the mental snapshot I have of Julie hanging under Sunny's belly while he trotted down the middle of the Hinckley Rodeo Arena.  I can't help but smile when I think about that, even now...
I couldn't find any photos of both Sunny and Twilight.
This old black and white one is of me and baby brother, Mark, on Twilight - Summer 1973
The mental photo I have is in FULL COLOR, I wish I could print it out so you could see it!


Dean and Sheri said...

Once again, Georgia, you have delighted me with another one of your sweet childhood reflections. Thank you, friend. Thank you.

Tina said...

Great story!!! I wish you could print out your mental picture also!

Dani Marie said...

I love that story.