This morning we constituted a Mottisfontley Crew as we went off to see the Thelwell Exhibition at Mottisfont Abbey. Thelwell lived locally to here, and like a lot of children brought up with native ponies, he formed an important part of my childhood. I used to love my box collection of Thelwell cartoons which included A Leg At Each Corner and Angels on Horseback. National Trust properties are really rather stuffy and not really the best place to put a collection designed to make you laugh out loud. I behaved like a reactionary and chose to go round the picture in the opposite direction to everyone else!
This afternoon it was time to take Jenny for her much awaited visit to see Benny. We were rained off last week because although she might be waterproof, he is not.
It may have been the malevolent look in her eye, the sheer randomness of a life size plastic animal, or the donkey shape...
...but Benny was having none of it. The facilities were not safe enough to put any sort of pressure at all, and rather than him make an association between his own stable-yard and some alien creature, we chose to stop the session altogether. It is so easy to go with your MUST genes and important to make sure that you are set up for success. We had to stop taking him to see the real donkeys as the ground was so wet in the field next door, but we'll take this as a clue that he does need to see more of them in the future. There's a fine line between sensitisation and desensitisation and we need to make sure we are doing the latter, not the former.
Debbie has done her homework for this evening:
"Thanks for today even if it didn't go quite as we had hoped/expected! I put the wheelbarrow where we had put the donkey and when I brought him out of the field he stopped and looked but figured it was just the wheelbarrow so carried on quite normally, just locking an ear on as we went past in case it suddenly changed shape! He was just his normal self once on the yard. I will try and find other more unusual objects to put around to see if he reacts at all." DV