Grooming Chloe

Chloe and Lulu
Chloe and Lulu

Chloe is getting into the morning routine.  Now, she always comes to the gate, with the donkeys for a carrot or apple.  Chloe reminds me of Simon, she can be a bit pushy about food.  But I just put my hand up and tell her no one likes a pushy pony.  We’re working on it.

Then comes the brushing.   Fanny and Lulu love it, they wait their turn, like cars at a car wash.   But Chloe’s not always so eager to be brushed.  I remember this from when we had Rocky.  When I got out the brush he would circle around and walk away from me.  But if I kept at it,  If I just followed him brushing as we walked, he finally settled into it.

Most of the time Chloe seems more interested in grazing than being brushed.  But this morning was different.  I had to follow her like I did Rocky, but then she settled in the pole barn and seemed to be really enjoying it.  I got the comb and did her mane and tail.  Grooming is one of those ancient and instinctual ways of bonding.  Animals do it to each other, people do it to each other and people do it to animals. It’s nurturing and nourishing.  It connects us physically in a gentle and soothing way.  It says “I care” and “you are worthy”.

When I was done combing Chloe’s tail, unlike the other times, she didn’t run off to graze.  She just stood there.  So I draped myself over her back and we stayed like that for a while.   Just being together.  At one point she made some nickering noises.    Fanny and Lulu stood quietly with us.  I knew we were connecting in a new way.  Just enjoying being in the presence of each other.   Learning to trust.

I felt like this was as important as when I last rode her and was able to keep her from running back to the barn.  It was deeper than that for sure.  When she did walk away, before going to graze, she got  on her back and rolled.  I left feeling like something special happened  and thinking I wanted more of it.


6 thoughts on “Grooming Chloe

  1. “No one likes a pushy pony.” I’m gonna have that put on a t-shirt I can wear when I go out loaded with carrots.

  2. Maria, Your relationship to Chloe and to all of the animals at Bedlam Farm is so beautiful. Jon talks about calming when he works with Fate.
    I find what you do with Chloe, Lulu and Fanny to be calming; at least it calms me when I read about it. I don’t know if you realize it or not but you are a teacher (in all of the good ways that entails) as well as an artist. I learn so much from you. When you talk about brushing and grooming as a way of bonding, it is more than an eye opener. Two of my dogs do not enjoy brushing and it makes me think that I have failed at something with them. My other dog loves being brushed and almost does a little dance while I brush him. It is interesting how each of them is so distinctly different in everything–their tastes, behaviors, playing, everything they do. Like people they are their own selves. I get frustrated often, but I love them and would never give up on them. You, and Jon, have taught me a lot. Thank you.

  3. I love how you drape yourself over Lulu, Fanny and Chloe – a little chakra-to-chakra contact I imagine to get the communication flowing!

  4. I leaned over my pony today too! I think we’re hooked! Only Melody was wet and this cooled me off also. After our lesson she was so sweaty, I gently (not her favorite thing) hosed her down then squee-geed her while she grazed. Then over her back I went. The coolness of her wet body, the closeness and calm. I can’t wait for more either!

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