Thursday, April 19, 2012

A tale of two ponies

Like all good horse crazy girls of the 1970's, I grew up with Marguerite Henry.

My favorite title wasn't King of the Wind or White Stallion of Lipizza or even Brighty of the Grand Canyon.  Instead, it was the real life story of Marguerite's most famous character--Misty of Chincoteague.
My own copy is battered and worn from so many readings.  It's also signed!
One of my favorite passages from the book describes young Misty's arrival at Marguerite's farm in Illinois.   Everyone was expecting a sleek and shiny pinto, but the pony that stepped off the train was utterly strange.  There were no markings.  None at all.  No palomino coat, no golden eye patch, no white map of America.  She was all one color--the sooty gray of snow that had lain on the ground much too long.
Although convinced that Grandpa Beebe sent the wrong pony, the Henrys quickly fell in love with their drab little "Siberian goat."  Any lingering disappointment was put to rest a couple months later when Misty began to shed.  Marguerite describes the miraculous transformation like this:  As Misty shed out, she began to appear slimmer, trimmer, less wooly.  And her coat took on a kind of shimmery look in certain slants of sunlight.  The children and I thought it was our imagination playing tricks on us, or just wishful thinking.  But as the days slipped by, and Misty's hair came out in great swatches, a gradual dawning took place in our minds.  For the more she shed, the surer we became that underneath her outer coat she was growing an undercurrent of gossamer gold.
I've been thinking about those words a lot lately.  From a distance, Trillium still looks like a pale, almost- white palomino.
However, if you look closely...
you can see little hints of her glorious summer coat.
Some of the changes are kind of funny.  She's shed out around her eyes but not on her forehead, which almost makes it looks as if she's wearing goggles. 
But those dapples...  They're almost gone.  Sigh.  I can't wait until this... 
looks like this...
and this again! 
Oh, it's hard to be patient while waiting for that Spring Magic!


  1. I love when you reminisce about the horsey books and things you loved as a child. Believe it or not, I never saw this particular book until I was an adult, but it was still magical for me. About Marguerite Henry and Misty, do you know that I live about three miles from Marguerite's home in Wayne, IL? When you visit Tiff (notice I'm inviting you to visit...her...because we don't have real horses, and are therefore so much less interesting here!) you could head over here to St. Charles (which is maybe an hour from Tiff) and we could go check out Misty's old home. Chris Wallbruch recently hiked around on various private properties in Wayne (Ha ha!) to figure out which house was Marguerite's and which barn was Misty's. The house and barn are still there, but now on two separate properties. I'm sure Chris would insist on joining us - the more the merrier!

  2. Like I told you, a Furminator works WONDERS on the underfluff part. And, it's a multi animal thing as it's meant for dogs. (Darcy!) I borrow Michael's and Flick's clip marks are almost gone!

    His legs are another story though... ugh! He seems to be wearing hair trousers.

  3. I have to admit--I really love these kinds of posts, too.

    And I can't believe you live near Mole Meadow! I would love, love, love to go stomping around there with a bunch of like minded people. I did manage a trip to Chincoteague and Assateague once. Ryan was just five months old, and I have pictures of the two of us (he's in a baby bjorn) on the beach there!

    Sometimes I feel as though I've spent my whole life trying to replicate things I read in 1970's era horse books! Ha!

    Teresa--I told you I was writing another post about hair! Despite the glints of gold under the dirty white fluff, Trillium seems to be in a holding pattern. The hair is NOT coming off like it was a month ago. It's like she doesn't want to give it up. If I had a Furminator, I would try it but I'm too cheap to buy one for just that. Darcy doesn't need it. Unlike Abbie, she has virtually no undercoat. It's a most welcome change!

  4. I, too, love your posts that include the horse books you read as a child as these are usually the same books I read and cherished in my childhood. I’m continually tripping down memory lane after reading one of these blogs. Misty was my favorite of Marguerite's books, so much so that my childhood pony was named Misty in honor of the book’s character. (Never mind that my Misty was a drab, mousy, grey-brown pony – I loved her as much as I loved the Misty in print!) Later in life my poor non-horsy husband was even dragged to Chincoteague and Assateague Islands during our honeymoon trip so I could see where the famous Misty from the books actually came from!

  5. Well, ladies, I'm right here with ya. All of MH books are WELL-worn and loved and I can quote passages from virtually all of them... and even at the ripe old age of pulling 40-something, I will happily still sit down and read them.

    I, too, have made pilgrimages to Chincoteague and Assateague. I went to Chincoteague as a kid with my family during Pony Penning, but we missed the swim. We also left without a pony, which of course I thought was the cruelest thing my parents had EVER done to me. I visited Assateague with my new husband in tow - not our honeymoon but only six months later. Fortunately, he loved it there, too, so if we ever have the chance to go back I know I won't get an argument.

    Karen, I can't believe you live in St. Charles. I'm right here in Lake St. Louis! Was just down in St. Charles for DD's senior prom... we took photos in the park before she went to dinner at Trailhead and to the Arts Centre for the actual dance. Jennifer already knows we have to get together next time she makes it to St. Louis, so we should ALL go over to IL on a Marguerite's Farm search!