When I first got Bobby, I quickly realised how he could tap into my feelings. When things were going well he was cheeky, naughty even – putting in a buck and giving me a dare me look. But whenever I had had a bad day at school Bobby seemed to know and would always be especially good when we went riding. He’d nuzzle me before I left the yard, as if to say, ‘Don’t worry, things aren’t that bad!’ He was always like this, it was uncanny, really.
A bolt from the blue
One day, when I got home from the yard our next-door neighbour was there looking after my little brother.
‘Where’s Mum?’ I asked her, immediately realising that something was wrong.
‘You’re not to worry yourself, Lulu,’ Mrs Collins told me, soothingly. ‘Your mum has had to go to the hospital. I’m waiting for your dad to call and tell us how she is.’
Whoa! Talk about a bolt from the blue. Of course I worried – how could I not worry? I was sick with it and when Dad rang, it wasn’t the reassuring good news I had prayed for. ‘Your mum’s pretty ill, love,’ Dad told me, his voice shaking. ‘She collapsed at work and the doctors are doing lots of tests. I’m staying here for the night. I’ve asked Nan to come over to look after you and Tim.’
I felt the world had turned completely upside down!
I had to carry on
Even though Mum was pretty ill I still had to go to school and be a comfort to my brother Tim, as well as looking after Bobby. As soon as I went into my pony’s stable the next day Bobby walked over to me, put his head on my shoulder and sighed. He knew I was sad and scared, and I threw my arms around him and howled. He just stood there like a rock – although he usually didn’t care for me hugging him so tightly.
I cried so much I made Bobby’s neck all wet, but my darling pony just nickered softly and rubbed my back with his nose. It was such a relief to be able to tell him all about Mum without having to answer awkward questions, which my friends had asked. They were being kind, but I just couldn’t handle it.
Bobby never let me down
Between visits to Mum and going to school I told all my worries to Bobby – and he never let me down. As I told him how Mum seemed so weak and lifeless, not like Mum at all, lying in her hospital bed and plugged into machines, Bobby wiggled his ears and rested his muzzle gently on my shoulder.
My pony stood quietly as I told him how Mum was getting stronger, that the doctors had finally found out what was wrong with her and were hopeful she would get completely better.
He stared at me with his huge, brown eyes as I told him all about how Mum had finally started to look and act more like her old self, and he stood steady as a rock as I swung on his neck and cried again – this time with relief – when Mum finally came home to live with us again, exhausted but cured.
My extraordinary pony
I have lots of friends – both at the yard and at school – but Bobby was the only one I felt I could talk to about Mum, about my fears and worries, things I just couldn’t share with anyone else. Now Mum is back home and getting better my pony has started to be cheeky again, putting in a buck here and there when we’re out hacking, and jogging on the way home. But I don’t care what he does. I know that if I ever need a friend to turn to and a shoulder to cry on, Bobby will always be there for me. He’s an extraordinary pony; no wonder he’s my best friend.