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September 3, 2018: The Pony Wheel

The Pony Wheel was to the left of the agriculture building at the Alaska State Fair. I’d pass it when heading down the purple trail. In past years, I’d stop and look closely at the dozen or so ponies, tethered to a wheel that takes them in a circle. I’d watch as these small animals, usually wearing heavy western saddles, would take small children, placed carefully on their backs by doting parents round and round, to the sounds of country music, usually something like Okie from Muskogee.

The ponies would stop and the kids would be lifted off their mounts backs. Other kids would then be placed on the animals. I mainly paid attention to the ponies

themselves, and the looks on their faces. What ponies are thinking – you can see it mainly in their eyes. In most cases the look has been bored resignation. I have, without fail, every year, imagined myself bringing them home, home being a place with a large barn with run in stalls and a large pasture for them to run in. Never again would they have to put time in on the wheel.

This year I didn’t pay the ponies much mind because I was so busy. But I did think about them often and send positive energy their way.

My horses (and they are horses) have pony blood in them. They’re on the small size, and have thick manes and tails. They also are adept at letting me know their opinions – their eyes and facial expressions are indicative of this. Raudi, when she’s displeased will swish her tail.

Ahh, they really do not know how fortunate they are, to be spared the life of those ponies who end up on the wheel. No, they don’t have a large pasture to roam in, but they do have a doting owner who takes them out on the trail most days. They get the best hay, and the best hoof care. I also clean their pen 3-6 times a day. The main difference between my ponies and those on the wheel is that those on the wheel are beasts of burden.

A beast of burden is an animal that carries a load. It is valued for its ability to do this, and treated accordingly. Beasts of Burden are not loved, because to love them would then bring into question the reason for the task at hand. So yes, the pony wheel ponies are beasts of burden in that they go in a circle, one way, endlessly, carrying loads and loads of children.

My heart does ache for pony wheel ponies. When I get to feeling down about their lot in life and the lot in life of many ponies, I remind myself that I have given six total, four ponies and two ghost ponies (Siggi and Signy), good homes. Realistically, I could not give more good homes because tending to the ones here is a very expensive and time consuming task. But if I could, I would. . . .

Next: 246. 9/4/18: Sorting out the Details

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