Life with Ladybug: Horsin’ around

By Shannon Magsam, Ladybug’s mama 

I got a horse! I got a horse!

I mean, my daughter got a horse. My parents actually went out and bought the grandkids a horse. Unfortunately, they live 2 ½ hours away. And I think this might be a ploy to get us to move closer. But still! A horse!

I haven’t had a horse since I was in college. During every horse lesson Ladybug has taken over the years, I was always itching to get back in the saddle. Just itching. So now I can ride Patches along the trails and through the woods where I used to ride my pony and quarter horse long ago.

The new love of my daughter’s life is actually a large-ish paint pony named Patches. And Mr. Patches was the main character in a crazy Christmas story this year. It’s one that will no doubt be told over and over again in our family.

Wanna hear it?

Well, my husband, sister, brother, sister-in-law, parents and all our kids went out to cut down a Christmas tree on my parents’ land. It’s a tradition to use an actual saw and cut a tree that everyone agrees on. Well, as the whole gang was walking back down the hill toward my parents’ house with the tree, Patches saw us and started getting a little excited.

You know how horses do: they trot and snort and generally act like big, excited dogs when they’re happy.

Well, Patches got so happy that he wanted to be in on the fun. Or the sight of a large pine tree coming at him from the hilltop seemed a little off and that got him spooked. Since I can’t get in his head, we’ll never be sure.

But the next thing we knew, Patches had taken off and was bulleting through a (tiny, compared to him) window in his stall. We were stunned. He took off down the road like a flash, my sister-in-law on his tail. Ladybug’s dad tailed my SIL. I yelled for the kids to run and get the pony’s halter and a bucket with a little feed.

I kept thinking, “If something happens to this horse, Christmas will be ruined!” And then I worried that he might cause someone to have a wreck which had a whole other set of problems. And THEN I worried that he might have scraped his back or tummy or legs during that death-defying leap through the tiny window.

We all took off in search of him, but Patches was gone with the wind. Luckily, my SIL snagged a ride with a neighbor and was able to keep him in her sights. After it was obvious that Patches was way far down the road, we sent the kids to the barn and my 18-year-old nephew, my brother and I took off.

We found my SIL directing traffic on the main highway, where Patches had decided to travel. A cowgirl in a truck (the kids are calling her a Christmas angel and I wouldn’t disagree) drove close to Patches and got out with a bucket. It had no feed inside, but Patches didn’t know that. When he came up for a bite, she nabbed him.

That little escape artist didn’t have a scrape.

We walked the jaywalker back to his stable. I laughed when my dad kept repeating, incredulous, “I measured the horse and I measured the window.”

We think he might have been a circus horse before he came to live at MeMee and PawPaw’s house. Perhaps we should consider teaching him to jump through rings of fire and charge admission.

My girl and her (trick) pony