Head Strong and Saddle Sore

Today, the cure for my ills came from an unexpected source; a ride out on a fell pony.  The fell pony in question belongs to our neighbour, and the ills were all about the boy.  For the past few weeks his behaviour has really taken a nose dive, every single thing I would say to him would be completely ignored, and not in a “oh, he’s not listening way” but more as in “did I actually speak then?” no reaction, nothing.  He’d also started lashing out at his sister as well as me and J, and the occasional times he would hear me roar (usually around the sixth or seventh attempt) he would do exactly what I had told him not to.  It wasn’t fun, but lots of visitors at the barn meant I could bury my head in the sand for a while and he spent more time with others than with me.  But the visitors went, and we were four again, and my frustrations grew.  It finally erupted when the girl woke at 10.30 last night, her screaming woke the boy, and they refused to return to the land of nod until 2.00 – I tried being nice, I tried shouting, I tried bribery.  But nothing worked, so I sulked in bed whilst J took matters in hand – well, he fell asleep on their floor, but that did the trick, so same difference really.

This morning I was tearful and felt like a broken and inept mummy, and then salvation came in the guise of our lovely neighbour with the offer of a pony trek.  At first I wasn’t keen, I’ve not ridden since I was about 14 (and that was the only other time I’ve ever done it) and I remember being very nervous and I didn’t particularly enjoy it.  However J thought it was a good idea and, to be honest, I didn’t take a lot of convincing, as I knew I needed something to take my mind off things and help me find my elusive mojo.  So I agreed, I was lent the required equipment and off we went.  From the start I was shocked; I managed to get into the saddle in the first place, I didn’t scream “get me down!” when we set off, and I actually enjoyed it.  The first dismount did elicit a little shriek (followed by much laughter), as I thought I was going to land on my face, but the second was marginally better.  I also managed to natter on about the boy’s behaviour (with my neighbour, not the pony – though he was very amiable) and started to feel a bit more rational about it all; in short, I got some headspace.  I also spotted a goldcrest in the hedgerow which was a treat.

I returned to the barn feeling excited about managing a couple of hours in the saddle (at a walk, anything faster might have got that scream), with sore inner thigh muscles – who knew fell ponies were so wide?? – and a little (lot) saddle sore, but also with a much brighter disposition than that I had headed out with.  So much so that I decided some mummy and boy time was much needed and told him we were going out for a walk, just the two of us – but not far, I was in pain.  He moaned and cried, a bit, at the prospect, but once daddy and the girl had headed to the shops, he was fine and off we went.  Getting him out of the garden in the first place was helped by a rather beautiful herdwick loitering outside our gate – it even let me take a couple of pictures, and the boy managed not to run into them all gurning.

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“What you looking at?”

We had a short wander about, went to see my trusty steed from the morning (who stayed at the other side of the field despite us waving carrots, obviously scared I might leap onto him again).

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Pony in the distance, he’s bigger than he looks (that’s perspective for you)

The boy puddle jumped, I didn’t shout, we laughed a bit, he fell over – I hugged him, and we headed home.  Both of us now in pain but holding hands and happy to be together.

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A glorious day

Once we got home, stories were read, more cuddles had and when daddy got home, he didn’t leap off my knee and demand to be with him instead – RESULT.

I’m not daft enough to think that’s it, the effort has been put in and all is solved, it’s going to be a bit of a journey for both of us, but for the first time in a couple of months I feel we’re heading in the right direction – and I’m going to make sure that’s the way we keep going.

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