MINIATURE HORSE & BUGGY RIDE
Samford & District Carriage Drivers Inc
Ian & Marilyn Taylor
13 September 2009
On this day, the plan was to take Dot to a beachside carnival .. so how did she wind up at a rural showgrounds at Samford?
All plans to get her to the beach carnival were worked out the night before but near midnight, browsing the local paper saw a small paragraph about an open day showcasing horse and buggies. For a long time, had kept an eye out as to how to take Dot on a buggy ride. The reason being that her mother had always ridden in one so would have been a big part of her young days and would also be a stimulating, invigorating & novel experience.
As soon as I saw the ad, didn't hesitate to change my plans .. and the next day headed out to Samford Showgrounds, less than half an hour's drive away in a beautiful tranquil bush area. Wasn't able to get there until after lunch and as we drove towards the fields, the disappointment increased because it looked like the function was over. There were a couple of horses, floats & buggies but all in the process of being packed up.
We pulled into a random parking spot and to make the best of a disappointing situation, was going to use the time to give her her lunch and at least she'd be looking at horses & buggies. On the left above, Dot had fixated looking at the miniature horses nearby. She just kept looking and looking. I thought that, seeing the horses, at least made the trip worthwhile.
I eventually thought to go over and ask the owner of the miniature horses if he knew of anyone with horse & buggy who lived locally so that I could arrange another day to go to their property to give her a ride. After a short time, he totally surprised me (kindness of strangers again!) by offering to re-harness his miniature horse. That was a hugely generous offer. He'd been at the function all morning, had unharnessed the horses and was packing up ready to go. And yet, he was offering to give Dot the chance to realise another adventure experience. How do you thank people like that?
The photo above right shows Dot seated in the buggy ready to go. What was even more surprising is that the one variable I didn't know how I was going to solve was how to get Dot lifted up to a full size buggy. And yet, here was a miniature horse and buggy that I would never have even considered. More miracles.
Above left .. photo captured one of those surprising moments that remain forever. As soon as the driver (Ian) sat in the buggy and picked up the reigns, Dot immediately reached over to hold them as well .. obviously a past association of that activity was retriggered. Her hands have been permanently clenched for almost two years .. that didn't stop her, she still reached over immediately using whatever fingers were available. Ian took her for quite a lengthy drive and all the time, she held onto the reigns! Seeing her going for the ride was a priceless memory and an invaluable gift from the owner. All he asked was a gold coin donation, even though he'd gone to all the extra trouble of reharnessing and giving Dot a personalised ride. They had had the function to raise money for their fledgeling organisation, Samford & District Carriage Drivers.
There were many, many magic moments that day. The synchronisity of finding the activity so late the night before, parking next to the miniature horses, thinking to ask about an alternative ride .. one other moment, before having the ride, had the car doors open and was feeding Dot her lunch from the driver's seat. At one point, was startled to hear a noise next to me and turned around to see this blue cattle dog drop a ball on the ground next to me. The irony was that Dot has had a blue cattle dog for over a decade. Of all the dogs in Brisbane, of all the moments for that to happen .. it was totally synchronistic. I was so surprised, I didn't get a photo so before I left I asked the owner if I could get a photo of Dot with the dog just to remember the moment.
A post-script to this story .. and in response to the question posed at the beginning "How do you thank people like that?"
The answer is that they are repaid in other ways. The following weekend Ian and his wife Marilyn were attending show championships with their miniature horses .. the result:
Marilyn's little horse won his class so is now an Australian title holder.
Ian also won his class and Champion Multiples with the pair (Spirit and Red).
Spirit was the horse that had given Dot her ride.