This blog is dedicated to my friend, my mentor, and the best teacher I have ever had. Without him, I would not have embarked on this amazing journey. Split, this blog is for you!
Ponderosa Misty Icon, aka "Split," is a handsome gray Welsh pony who came to me via a phone call "out of the blue" (actually Peterborough, Ontario). Our first few months together were rocky to say the least, which made me question my ability as a horse owner, as a horsewoman, and as a rider. Forty years of horse ownership had not prepared me for this little gray pony!
But we muddled through and because of Split, I have begun a journey that is both spiritual and enlightening. I hope something here resonates with you and that you'll check back now and then.
We leave you with one of our favorite quotes: "The best whisper is a click!"

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ms. Personality!!

AA Milne knew a thing or two about donkeys when he came up with Eeyore! That "hang dog" expression, the head lowering, the "well, ok, you can do it but I'm not gonna like it" attitude...........I have a mini donkey just like that! She's the cutest thing on 4 hooves, I think.
When she first arrived here, plucked out of a huge free roaming herd in Nebraska (she'd started life at a mini donk farm in Vermont), she'd had little interaction with humans and considered us all the devil's minions. But slowly, very slowly, she began to see that we aren't all bad and now she believes that we live to scratch her hiney or her chest! ha ha
Jingle is clearly an old soul (and perhaps all donkeys are). She is patient, she's tolerant of over-zealous children, and of dogs and cats strolling through the pasture. She's curious about everything and will stick those long ears straight up and stare at something til she's figured it out. She's very smart, too, and catches onto the clicker work simply by watching Split and me. When Split and I play Why Would You Leave Me, Jingle walks on one side of me, Split on the other - I'm like the filling in a horsey sandwich. Jingle steps right along with us, stops when we stop, and switches directions when we do. I didn't teach her this - she literally picked it up on her own! She does all of this without a halter or lead rope. When Split and I began working more with Stand On A Mat, Jingle figured out that if she, too, stands on the mat, she will also get a treat! What a clever girl!
But what I really love about little Jingle is her ability to intuit when someone needs some extra TLC; a warm body to hug; someone to absorb their sadness or loneliness. Sometimes if I'm feeling over-whelmed or sad I will go out to the barn and just sit with Split and Jingle. Both of them will come and stand with me; both will let me pour out my troubles; both will take on some of my negative or sad energy. But there's something about Jingle that's more "grandmotherly." I really can't put my finger on it.
Last month my youngest daughter's best friend for the past 20 years suffered a break-down due to some extremely difficult and over-whelming circumstances in her life. She came here and asked to stay with us because things were not working out at home. Known to take in strays of all sizes and descriptions, my immediate answer was, "Sure! Stay as long as you want." As days turned into weeks, I listened, counseled to the best of my ability, and finally got Friend into a professional counselor. But in the meantime, Jingle took care of things very nicely! One afternoon when Friend just couldn't seem to get a grip on her crying or sadness, I suggested that she come out to the barn with me and just sit and hang out with Split and Jingle while I did chores. Both equines are equally friendly but Split preferred to hang around with me after greeting Friend. But that Jingle.......Friend sat down on the step going into the barn and just stared off into space. Jingle watched this for a few minutes, clearly sizing up the situation. Finally, she took a few steps toward Friend; Friend looked at Jingle and smiled. Jingle took a few more steps; Friend reached out and touched Jingle's face. After a few minutes of this interaction, Jingle sighed, put her head against Friend's chest and just chilled out there with her. Friend patted Jingle and hugged her and leaned against her and talked to her. When I was done with chores, I suggested to Friend (who, among other things was suffering from severe sleep deprivation) that she sit in the old Adirondack chair that I keep in the barn (for quick naps, of course!). There was a lovely breeze and it was so relaxing..........Within minutes, Friend was SOUND ASLEEP! I don't know exactly how long she slept but I walked around her with hay and water buckets and the manure bucket.....and still she snored on. When she finally woke up, she looked 100% better than she had in weeks! She told me later (she is a physical therapist) that she's read about the healing abilities of animals but it was so cool to actually EXPERIENCE IT! Friend's road to recovery actually began that afternoon and she continues to do well, even being able to move back home and cope admirably with things there. And to think we owe it all to a little red donkey who if asked would say, "Aw, shucks. Just doin' my job!"

"A little Consideration, a little Thought for Others, makes all the difference."

Here's to Jingle the mini donk!!!!!

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