And the Cat Defense
First in response to the rat/cat issue. My pet cats are all kept indoors. It is far too dangerous to allow them outside at all because of the heavy traffic on my road. I have vowed never to lose another one of my pet cat that way.
As for the two strays, I am not sure Patches is a ratter prospect, and Mitzi...Mommycat, is just a little thing. She does seem to spend some time in the barn, so it's possible she has been ratting out there, but I do know it takes a very special cat to tackle a Norway rat. The only one I ever knew was Rug at one of the barns where I boarded. I saw her take down a rat nearly half her size with one well placed bite. But all the other barn cats I've every known were wary of the rats. A terrier of some sort would probably be good at ratting here, but I do not want the addition of a dog in my household. I am hoping the blacksnakes I saw at the edge of the woods might drop by when the weather improves. Otherwise, it's either toleration or hoping the rodents will eat the rat bait bars I've set out.
That said, I am on to the pony ride part.
Shortly after I got home from church and lunch, my phone rang. It was the 9 year old son of a farmer nearby. He wanted to know if he and his sister could come over to "play" with the horses. What he meant by that was to pet them and give them some carrots.
Sure enough, once I'd said yes, three sweet kids showed up in the yard, looking for me and, of course, The Boys. I called the herd in from the pasture with a grain bribe and soon the kids were feeding them carrots and asking me all kinds of questions.
It was a bit chilly out, and a little windy, but M, R, and K asked me if I would ride one of the horses so they could watch. Since Chance was right there on the crossties, as I'd brought him in to let them pet him and have a closer look, I agreed and saddled him up.
As I rode, I explained a bit about how I steered and gave him directions as to what to do. I showed the kids all three of his gaits, and then realized that the sun had come out, the wind was quieted, and Chance was positively chilled out. So, I decided he was settled enough to give some pony rides.
One after another, the three children donned my riding helmet--it has an adjustable band that acutally made it a pretty good fit-- and then mounted Chance for several turns around the riding arena.
Chance was an absolute star. He walked obediently at my side, as careful as could be, paying attention to my every command. The only time he got a little "up" was when K was in the saddle and the two boys started imitating galloping horses in the center of the arena. I asked them to stop running and as soon a they did, Chance's head went back down and he relaxed into the perfect leadline horse again.
After we were all done with the rides, the children helped me feed hay and grain to all three Boys, and I'm happy to say I think they all learned a lot. M is nearly nine, R is "nine and three quarters," and K is twelve. Their visit made for a lovely afternoon and proved to me that Chance is one of those good solid horses we all love to own.
I think Tucker was a bit jealous, but he managed to behave himself with the kids anyhow. Toby was ever the gentleman, but when the carrots were all gone, he just watched the show and didn't seem to mind not being the center of attention. I think he likes being retired.
Fun Sunday. Glad I enjoyed the day outside because there is another huge storm on the way for the next 2-3 days with inches and inches of rain predicted along with flood warnings.
Thank heavens it's still supposed to stay too warm to snow.