I had a pony, named Betty. She was a beautiful pony but very stubborn. My dad taught me that you have to show a horse affection but also teach them who is boss. I brushed her coat and curried her mane. But when it was time to ride, I kept a firm grip on the rein, and she learned to follow my lead.
She didn’t behave so well for my cousins. They loved her, but she was mean to them. As soon as they mounted her, she bolted to the closest tree and brushed them off. I had to hold her reins and lead her around, giving them turns riding.
I rode Betty to call on the neighbors. They looked forward to my visits because I brought news about everyone else. At each house, they served me a treat, like a cookie or glass of lemonade.
My favorite stop was the Kopp’s. Their children were grown, so they fussed over me and my pony. They stroked Betty and curried her mane, then served treats for both of us. Betty got some sugar cubes or a carrot. I was escorted to the porch or kitchen for a nice long chat.
I loved being the one to carry neighborly news from farm to farm. Everyone delighted in sharing what was eventful in their households. My natural curiosity would urge them on, “Oh my! How exciting!” They would elaborate. And I had fun chattering about their stories to others and gathering more.
In retrospect, I was a bit of a gossip. But I wasn’t mean about it.