Today Chloe pretty much told me to climb on her back. She was pottering about, loose on the driveway, and I walked over to see if she wanted to go back in the pasture yet. She came up to me but didn't put me into scratching position as she often does. Scratching position is on her right side, near her neck. She put me on her left side, half-way between front and hind legs, and she waited. So I flung myself into potato sack position onto her back, and carrying her precariously loaded burden, she walked over to the gate.
At the gate, after I slid off, Chloe decided she didn't want to go back into the field after all. Once more she put me into what I can only assume is "mounting position." So this time I thought, "What the heck," and I scrambled onto her back until I was sitting astride. She stood immobile while this was going on and continued standing still after I was up there. Which is just as well, because it is very easy to fall off Chloe. I sat there for a while scratching her neck, while she stood relaxing, ears drooping sleepily.
After a little while, I dismounted. But she turned and looked at me and seemed to want me to get back up. So I did, in a manner as inelegant and unathletic as before. And once more she stood stock still during and after the maneuver. We stood/sat quietly for a while, Chloe every now and then turning as if to say, "Hey, those dangling legs of yours could be good for scratching my ribs."
When I slid off, Chloe seemed a little disappointed. She went back into the field when I opened the gate but then made as if to come out again right away.
I should make it clear that she wasn't wearing a halter or rope or anything while this was going on. How far we have come. What a lovely, secure feeling to know that your horse is standing still while you climb on, not because of your skill or agility or training, but in spite of your lack thereof - standing still because it's her decision. This is the little horse who always signaled loud and clear that she wanted no part of the foolishness of riding. It's not that she particularly minded carrying someone on her back; her disapproval was of the rider (or anyone else for that matter) telling her what to do. Now that I've pretty much given up that bad habit, she's willing to entertain the idea of carrying me.
We'll see what happens if and when Chloe decides to take a step with me on board. It'll be very good balance practice, that's for sure.
Later this afternoon, I took Bridget out for a graze and a wander. I found this birds' nest lying on the ground and told Bridget it looked like her mane had come in very handy.
P.S. I am not in the habit of making 12:2 hh ponies carrying great gallumphing adults like myself - Chloe was ridden by lighter people back in the day. However, if she tells me to get up, I hear and obey.