One summer in Jr High (middle school, whatever the kids are calling it these days), my friend and I had a short lived job on a pony farm. In exchange for shoveling stalls and any other farm chores to be done, we could ride the ponies. That was our wage.
It was a dream for young girls with thoughts of horses and their adorably tiny counterparts running wild in their heads.
At the end of a long and filthy day, we would look forward to our turn at riding. There were catches, ones we didn't by any stretch anticipate.
First, ponies are awful. They are temperamental and brilliant. What they lack in stature, they more than compensate for in personality, attitude, and smarts.
Second, we wouldn't be able to ride any of the 'nice' ponies. Any manners or decorum those ponies posessed would be reserved for paying customers and not two little expendable farm hands.
We were only permitted to ride the B list ponies. The ones that couldn't be sent to birthday parties or fairs. The ones not fit for people.
The hope of our employer was that by our riding these ponies they would one day tolerate saddles, bits, and people in general.
We were bucked off, kicked, bit, squished into fences, stepped on, head butted, and treated to all manner of dislike by the dreamiest of cute creatures.
We would work our shifts on the farm and then have our butts handed to us, daily. The farmer wasn't much different from his charges, small and cantankerous. He had no sympathy when we tried to explain to him our situation. As I said, it ended up being a short stint on the pony farm.
I take away one memory from my experience there. One that pops back into my head on occasion. Recently there has been much occasion for me to think of it again.
Once, when my farm chores were through, a B list pony was chosen for me and I was happy to learn it was Time. Time was the name of the largest, kindest, and oldest of the B listers. It would seem that he should have transcended his B list status by now and been allowed to travel with the other ponies, all except one thing.
Time was a one trick pony in the worst way. When he was to be saddled, he would puff himself up as large as possible. Getting him saddled was a long and labored process of trying to cinch the saddle when he had unpuffed himself.
I'd gone through the melody with him of cinching and waiting and cinching again until I thought that his saddle was tight enough.
My friend was given a halfway decent pony that day too, so we were given permission to ride the trail down to the beach. Normally we had to stay in the corral.
Time waited until we were well into the trail and at quite a healthy clip to turn on me. He shrunk himself down causing his saddle to roll to his belly beneath him and dump me off. He continued down the beach trail leaving me behind.
I'll never forget the pony so aptly named Time, a puffed up illusionist.
We tend to think there is always more time when in reality, there is usually less. We discover our mistake when we are dumped over, shocked, and so sorry. Time continues on and we feel bruised and left behind.
May I not continue to be fooled by time, pony or otherwise, and cinch it up properly.
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