My friend B. came to the rescue, and very generously cared for my ponies all year long. She wanted somebody to keep her mini company, and she missed having horses around. She has both horse and veterinary backgrounds, and is an amazingly competent person in general, and so I never suffered the slightest twinge of worry about my girls the whole time I was gone.
Having my ponies back makes me very happy. A couple weeks ago, I met the farrier out at B.'s place and, after a trim for each of them, we trailered them up and brought them back. Poppy had only ever been in a trailer once before, when we took her out to B.'s a year before. On that occasion, it took us a half hour to get her to go in the trailer, and I was expecting something similar this time around, but in fact, she watched her mom go in and then hopped right up.
"Aimee? Hi, um, your horse, she is in my garden."
Ten minutes of shambling slowly toward Poppy, getting closer and closer, only to have her suddenly tear by me and head off in an unexpected direction was enough to convince me that nobody was going to catch that pony until she calmed down and decided to go home on her own. I only hoped she remembered home well enough to get there when she felt like it. Rowan and I decided the best we could do was try to stay between Poppy and the road, and wave our arms threateningly if she looked like she was going to break for the state highway.
The neighbors came out of their houses and we all stood there in the evening gloom, watching Poppy canter back and forth along the fenceline, head and tail up, mane flying, lifting her feet high and occasionally stopping to test the wind. She sure is a beautiful mover.
Since then, she's been perfectly content. The girls have taken to climbing the gate and helping each other up onto her back. Poppy doesn't care one way or the other, she just goes on grazing whether there is one little girl on her back, or two, or none at all. It really is time to get her training underway. I bought a bridle with long reins, made for carting, and I need to get to work introducing her to the whole idea of a bit.