Meet Whippy. She’s a good old trusty plodder, quiet, good-natured and completely unspookable!
Greying around the muzzle but still spritely when she wants to be, usually if there are carrots involved. Almost every horse-loving kid in Darwin has ridden Whippy at some stage, and my daughter has just joined the list.
Meet Amara. She’s three. Like most three-year-olds, she’s excitable, bossy and good at wriggling out of hard work. Before she had declared her love for either of her parents, she announced that she loved horses.
‘Great,’ I thought, ‘there’s no way we’re getting a horse.’ Then a friend mentioned there was a share-pony at the Fannie Bay stables. Now, Amara and I look after Whippy on Fridays. Here are some snippets of Amara’s conversations with her beloved Whippy.
All week long …
“Mum, is it Friday yet? Is it Whippy day?”
On approach to the stables …
“Mum, do you think Whippy will remember us?”
“Mum, do you think Whippy likes blueberries?”
“Mum, can I ride Whippy AND give her a shower?”
“(To beloved teddy bear) Howie, you can’t ride Whippy. You’re too small. Only big girls can ride
When we can’t find Whippy in the paddock ….
“Oh no. Do you think Whippy is lost? Did she go to Alice Springs?”
“How will we find her? I know, we need carrots.”
When Whippy smells the carrots and come whinnying and cantering through the trees …
“Look mum, Whippy loves us! She really loves us.”
“I love you Whipsta.”
“Look mum, my hand was flat and Whippy didn’t eat my fingers.”
When Whippy cheekily leads Amara off to a patch of green grass …
“Come on Whips, no eating on the job!”
“Hey, come on … lift your head up. Mum… mum ….muuuuuum! I can’t get whippy’s head up.”
While we’re saddling her up …
“Whippy, what have you been doing out there in the paddock? You’re so dusty. Mum is going to
brush you and I’m going to get the stones out with the hoof pick. Does that feel better? Now your
feet are nice and strong. My teddy Howie is eleven and soon he’s going to be seventeen, but he’s
still too small to ride you.”
“No mum. I don’t want the saddle. I want to ride with the bareback cloth like the big girls.”
While out walking, Amara riding Whippy …
“Can we go to the ring where the big girls ride?”
“Come on Whips, you’re being a bit slow today. What’s wrong? Do you need to go to the vet?”
After trotting for the first time …
“Mum, did you see me? I was like a seventeen year old!”
“No, I don’t want to do it again.”
After falling off for the first time …
Me panicky, trying to be calm on the outside. Amara looking stunned.
“Mum, when I fell off, Whippy licked me on the face.” Laughing “Whippy loves me.”
On the way home …
“Mum, I love Whippy.”
“Mum, what day is it today? When will it be Whippy day again?”