Kat O’Riley (a.k.a. “Ponybutler”) suspects her beloved pony Velvet may canoodling with a younger mistress. Have your own equine infidelity suspicions? Kat outlines a list of red flags.
Early next month, Velvet and I will celebrate our fourteenth year of pony/ponybutler partnership. I was contemplating a simple yet special little anniversary: sharing a giant oatmeal cookie while watching “Attack of the Pony Zombies,” or perhaps savouring a snowy stroll in the cherry orchard across the road, followed by with a bucket of hot apple cider.
Unfortunately any thoughts of a companionable homage to ‘V & Me’ have hit an awful speed bump. Just yesterday, I discovered that Velvet seems to have… met someone else. Emotionally devastating though it is to face, let alone publicly admit this shocking development, I’ve got to pull myself together and try to assess the situation with some measure of calm (ARGH!).
The week started off innocently enough, as I arrived at the barn late one afternoon. Velvet and I had a relaxing amble around the arena–preceded and followed, naturellement, by the obligatory pony snax & massage ritual. Anyhow, I left V dozing in her stall snug in her fave fleece jammies, just after the lesson kids started to appear.
As I hopped into my [t]rusty truck, I realized the rechargeable hand warmer (January in Canada, eh) I use to make V’s bit more palatable wasn’t in my pocket, so I headed back to the barn. It was then that my nightmare commenced; this envelope/note was stuck on Velvet’s stall door right under her ‘Pony Nap in Progress-Vamoose!’ notice…
The stable spun as I dizzily digested the words. My tiny brain cells were racing around like toddlers after six bowls of Megasugarpuff cereal, but I managed to replace the envelope and stagger out to the truck. Velvet and I had been so close for so long–how could I have been such a fool?! Were there hints of pony pique I had missed??
Looking back, I began to sense a pattern emerging, in terms of V’s behaviour. Little things I’d blithely dismissed suddenly took on a nasty new twist, and I was soon scribbling down an incriminating list. To assist those who may find themselves in a sadly similar situation, here are a few signs your pony may be seeing someone else:
-you buy a custom made saddle pad, and your pony ‘accidentally’ knocks it to the ground…then steps on it
-while sharing your traditional Sunday brunch of cinnamon simmered oats, your pony won’t put down her copy of “Stud Monthly”
-just as you pull out of the barn parking lot in your battered truck, you pass a luxury SUV driven by a middle aged woman… with a cute little girl beside her
-giftwrapped bunches of exclusive ‘Petite Boutique Organic Carrots’ keep appearing on the halter hook on your pony’s stall
-you wear a sleek new pair of breeches, and your pony doesn’t even notice
-while riding, you realize your pony is a little stronger on one diagonal, and picking up her ‘bad lead’ (she also seems really tired)
-when you can’t reach your pony on her cell, and call the barn manager, she tells you your pony “is taking a meeting”
-you discover your stirrup leathers are five holes too short
-during your pony’s acceptance speech for the prestigious Tony Pony of the Year award, she refers to a mysterious ‘Bethany’ five times, and makes no mention of you?!
-at a local horse show, you spot a young girl riding a lovely pony that looks “just like Velvet”
-you are washing some of your pony’s blankets, and you find a red rose caught in one of the buckles
-in the fall, your pony suddenly sports a spiffy trace clip
-you find a PonyVisa bill tucked behind your pony’s water bucket, with unusual charges (including large amounts spent at Gap Kids, Candy Nirvana, and Tack ‘n Stuff 4 Gurlz)
-your pony seems to be using a different shampoo, instead of her usual ‘Chestnut Mare=Beware Great Hair!’
-there is a new and exquisitely carved stall sign on your pony’s door, and she is wearing an equally new Vespucci halter
-when you go to give your pony a goodbye smooch on her velvety muzzle, she turns her head away.
THREE WEEKS LATER…Well, the memory of my moment of agonizing insight is still burned in my brain, but the sharpest pain of that Day of Pony Betrayal has eased somewhat. I chose not to confront Velvet until I’d had a chance to think things through a bit more-and yes, to knock back a few pounds of Swiss chocolate (hey, if VPony has to cart around a few more pounds, too bad!).
I guess I was naïve to trust a canny little pony so much; then again, something must have been lacking, for Ms. V to look elsewhere for grooming, ETC. At any rate, we decided to try a few counseling sessions with a pony psychologist, and it’s been going pretty well so far. Velvet and I have also resumed our riding/brunch routine, although we’re taking it slow. Oh, and I gave a certain little girl a generous gift certificate for lessons… at a barn in the next county.
About Kat: I’ve heard that fortunate people have one great passion in life; aside from dark chocolate and my husband–not necessarily in that order!–mine has been “everything equine.” Beginning with lessons as a kid, I’ve been lucky enough to break a variety of bones riding a wide selection of breeds, in a number of disciplines–from TB racehorse (clavicle) to eventing Appaloosa (tibia) to endurance Arabian (ribs). It’s also been my privilege to play Ponybutler to my own hooved beasties on a succession of scarily rustic farms, over the past 20 [very] odd years. The dream continues!
Kat and her ex-hunter pony partner of 14 years (Provincial Velvet a/k/a the Amazing Velveeta a/k/a “Velvet, NO!!”).