I think I had mentioned that last Saturday, I'd talked with the ranch manager about Kelly coming in on a semi-regular basis to visit with the horses (and one in particular), socializing them (such as it is) in preparation for the summer. And I may also have mentioned that I offered to pay for the privilege but had been waved off.
So, yesterday was Kelly's first day of "work".
After a little bit of my own 'work' (The mother of one of Kelly's classmates (well, actually, he's in special day class, so she doesn't have any classes with him per se) has asked me to drive her son to her workplace after school on Wednesdays because she can't get the time off, and she worries that he'll get beat up if he has to walk anywhere or take the bus - she's probably correct. The kid can be a bit of a weasel, but is mostly harmless. And because the mom usually sounds desperate, and really has no other connections at the school, I oblige her. No real skin off my nose, when it comes down to it), and a quick trip into a grocery store to get take-away sushi, Nate and I took Kelly over the hill to the coast, where the blustery day had turned into a perfectly glorious sunny afternoon.
There wasn't much action at the ranch. Jorge was sitting on the fence, shooting the breeze with a couple of friends, but when we showed up, he offered to get Eddie from the pasture for Kelly. I said "No, this isn't your job, it's hers. Make her do the work and go back to your friends." and off we went to the pasture, she with her lead rope in her hand, me with a pocket full of carrots, just in case the pony didn't want to come. Jorge called after us "Just please make sure to close the gate!" so I took that as my job to be responsible for.
Meanwhile, Nate was holed up in the van, basking in the sunshine streaming in through the windows, doing his homework.
Even though it had been really stormy the day before, the pasture wasn't nearly as muddy as it had been in the past, and Kelly wasn't up to her knees in mud (it was a possibility). She wandered out into the pasture, where all the horses were quite curious about what might be up.
(Poor Aladdin. he's the horse on the left. He's gotten so skinny this last year. He couldn't be ridden by the summer camp girls, but he was so sad when he wasn't put out on the line, that they'd bring him to the line, and hook him on, just so he'd be with the working horses, and feel like a part of the 'in crowd'. I hope he can fatten up come spring.)
Eddie is the horse she's after, though, and this time there's no drama in collecting him.
Maybe the sugar cube in the palm of her hand had something to do with it...
He was all happy and prancing...
Until he got to the ring, and realized that he was going to have to actually pay attention, and do a bit of exercise if he wanted to keep the carrot treats flowing.
Hey! I don't want to go this way. And I'm bigger than you, scrawny little girl...
After several laps around the ring, and a couple of times spooking as the cars went by, it was time for another treat break. You don't have to ask him twice...
She walked around the ring with him over and over, chatting into his ear the whole time. I don't know if he's getting any gentler, but if she does this twice a week for the next couple of months, at least he'll become VERY accustomed to the sound of her voice.
But my goodness, is he ever dirty. What he really needs is a bath. Alas, we didn't have enough time, even though it was probably warm enough, with the thermometer pushing 60F (after a week in the 30s, this is wonderfully balmy!). I'm going to try to put off bathing him until the weather really turns warm, come spring. I don't want him getting chilled, or anything. So instead, Kelly had to settle for giving him a good brushing, detangling his mane, and making sure his hoofs were in good shape.
And here's a special kiss for you, sweetheart. Right on your forehead. Don't forget about me. I'll be back on Saturday.