the dog and pony show

One foggy Friday morning @ Knockara Stables
One foggy Friday morning @ Knockara Stables

All right little ladies. And when I say little, I’m specifically referring to ladies between the age when you start asking your parents for a pony for Christmas, to whenever that stops (i.e. you realize it’s never gonna happen, so you may as well stop wasting precious list space). On behalf of all the parents out there, I would like you to reconsider your request for a pony this year.

I know, I know. You dream about how awesome you’ll look galloping around on Black Beauty, wind in your hair, free and powerful like Rainbow Brite on Starlite, off to color the world with your Star Sprinkles, or She-Ra, Princess of Power and her winged unicorn, Swift Wind, leading freedom fighters to save your homeland from the evil tyrannical ruler.

I totally get it. I too, wanted a horse when I was your age. I hate to disappoint, but real ponies can’t talk or fly, they don’t have magical horns or rainbow-colored manes. They can’t communicate telepathically. And actually, as it turns out, they are a lot of work, that, if we’re being honest with ourselves, you know your parents will just end up doing after you get bored with it on day five, even though you promised them you’d take care of it forever and ever.

Perhaps I can interest you in a similar friend, one that doesn’t eat all day long and require a whole ‘nother house outdoors, something more realistic, like a puppy. Trust me, if I learned anything in my month here, it’s that I am not the horse whisperer, shocks from electric fences are surprisingly shocking, and horses are basically big puppy dogs.

Pure Joy
Pure Joy

For starters, personal space means nothing to either of them. When I lived with the huskies in Finland, they took over my bed, lounged on the kitchen table, licked my face without permission. When I lived with the horses, they nibbled on whatever piece of my body they could reach and weren’t okay with that comfortable distance in which we could have a conversation. They needed to breathe my air, nudge my face and continually get all up in my work business.

Iinna and Ivan hogging the bed, Max in my face, Iinna on the table, April & Seán poking around the wheelbarrow.
Iinna and Ivan hogging the bed, Max in my face, Iinna on the table, April & Seán poking around the wheelbarrow

And both are phenomenal yogis. I caught Seán doing a perfect downward facing dog a few mornings (sadly, no camera), maybe even better than an actual dog, so good, I questioned if the pose should be renamed downward facing horse.

Max (don't mind his wee willy) in a tree pose, Eemil showing off his downward dog, Alik in a tree pose variation.
Max (don’t mind his wee willy) in the eagle pose, Eemil showing off his downward dog, Alik in a tree pose variation

Puppies and ponies both have that sweet scratch spot. You know you’ve found it on a dog when they thump their back leg in uncontrollable glee, and on a horse, their eyes get all droopy and their heads sway, giving them a highly intoxicated look. And both wait eagerly at the fence for your attention, though I am pretty sure they are just hoping for a treat.

The G's, The Yearlings, Sievä & Juoksa
The G’s, The Yearlings, Sievä & Juoksa

Both animals are equally as playful and enjoy running around, kicking and nipping at each other, bumping bodies, swatting tails, and showing teeth.

Donald nipping Lebakko & the Q puppies showing some teeth.
Donald nipping Lebakko & the Q puppies showing some teeth

For some reason, both really get a kick out of tipping their food dishes over and slurping from the ground.

The T puppies actually behaving, Max playing with the food dish.
The T puppies actually behaving, Max playing with the food dish

I was pleased to note that both dogs and horses have the worst gas. Every night in Finland, either Iinna or Ivan or both, would silently fill my bedroom with a potent unexplained mystery odor. Horses are less secretive about it. When they take off running, extremely loud farts follow them the whole way. I like hanging around animals I can blame my own indiscretions on, especially since they can’t deny it. What’s more is, the horses, dogs and I are actually pretty much saving your life as some researchers believe that smelling flatulence could be key to preventing cancer. So, you’re welcome.

Iinna and Ivan definitely silently farting in my bed, Seán farting, April farting.
Iinna and Ivan definitely silently farting in my bed, Seán farting, April farting

Horses and dogs are both pack animals and really hate to be left alone. I learned this the hard way when we left Nuchi (recovering from ball removal surgery) in the cabin to feed the rest of the dogs and he somehow managed to lock himself in my room. When we came back, he had torn off his cone, wiped my camera, my books, my computer, everything off the table, took a wee on my yoga mat, scratched the crap out of both the door and window frames, and was practically hyperventilating with exhaustion on the bed. Similarly, when you take one horse in from the field for any reason, you always take a buddy, or they get nervous and restless and whinny like crazy. Even if the two horses get too far apart when you’re leading them in, they get a little panicky, which is how I sort of got kicked in the back. Lesson learned.

The two best friends that anyone could have.
The two best friends that anyone could have
Puppy love
Puppy love

Both enjoy a good romp and roll.

Seán enjoying a good roll.
Seán dug a little hole then took a little roll
Seemi, doing what he does best.
Seemi, doing what Seemi does best

Both are born to run.

Mom's chasing kids, siblings frolicking
Mom’s chasing kids, siblings frolicking
the art of flight
the art of flight

Ah, you know what? I’ve never been into crushing dreams. Think big. Ask for a puppy and a pony.

Kiki and the yearlings
Kiki and the yearlings
Seán & Kiki
the dog and pony show

8 thoughts on “the dog and pony show

  1. Totally amazing… Your journey is so beautifully documented…you are going to be able to look back on all of this and be as in Ahhhh as I am of it all.

    In a totally uncreepy, and totally normal way – I’ve decided to just live vicariously through you & tell my husband about all the awesome things your doing. “Did I tell you she’s from Wisconsin?!” ………………..”Yes…you did” (imagine the enthusiasm in his voice…)

    But yeah..anyway – this post made my night.


    1. I hope so! Because sometimes when I go back and read my diaries from like 8th grade, I cringe a little. With any luck, this will be a little less…cringeworthy. I may be doing some pretty awesome things, but you and I know that being from Wisconsin is the best part 🙂 Yay! I’m glad I was a part of your night!!!


  2. Take me back! I miss Nuchikin…he was the only one that got on my bed! haha When I saw your Sieva/Juoksa picutre…I was thinking it was Jujia/Jompa. Now, I’m pretty sure it’s Hieutale and Jouksa. Ugh we’re losing our magic powers of being able to name all of them 😦 😦 😦 Great post. Love the pictures! I wonder was the T’s look like now!?!


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