Sunday, November 25, 2007

You Scratch My Back...

...but don't expect me to scratch your's in return.

That's become Firecracker's motto these past few days. She's graduated from the lariat to the back scratcher. I tried using the handle end of the apple picker first, hoping it would be a good substitute for the bamboo pole I don't own. However, Firecracker wanted nothing to do with it. I got a pretty strong fear response, so set it aside. Wondering what else might work, I spotted some long, thin branches that had come down in last weeks windstorm. Perfect!

There's no reason why the branch should work when the handle of the apple picker didn't. But then, there's no reasoning with the psyche of a horse, either. For whatever reason, the branch was acceptable and after a less than frantic trot around the paddock with the stick sitting upon her back, Firecracker turned to face me. I began working the branch back and forth over her shoulders and withers. She stood patiently, a bit tense, licking her lips.

Over the weekend I've managed to get into her space, providing I've got that branch. Without it, she moves away. With it, she settles down and lets me into her bubble. I've even gotten a couple of passes with my finger tips across her shoulder and down her barrel before fright takes over.

She's not as lopsided as Sunny; although she bends more easily to the left and wasn't sure about me standing on the right side, it's the right side is where she's the most comfortable after a week of my coming and going. Not as supple, but she's learning. One thing that always brings a smile to my face is that I can reach over with the branch and lift the lead rope up off the ground, and as soon as she sees it she stops and follows it. I can almost lunge her with a dead tree branch, lol!

In other mustang happenings here, Sunny's prospective owner called this weekend and she's gotten approval from her fellow land owners to bring Sunny home. We'll need to get her official paperwork filled out, of course, but we're expecting to be able to move her this week. For all the distress I went through with this girl earlier this fall, wondering just how I'd be able to give her up, I'm feeling really good. They clicked~connected. I have no doubts that this is going to work for her and am happy to see her in a good, loving home.

Another change will be happening this week as well, one that brings tears to my eyes. Quiet Storm has been sold. I've only ever cried twice before when parting company with a horse, and I never expected it to happen with this one. But it has. She's headed to a wonderful, caring home in Oregon, but the chances that we'll ever see her again range somewhere between slim and nothing. There is just something extra special about that filly; she's been my daughter's best friend, her confidant, and her esteem builder. To watch them both learn together has been a treat few people ever witness. Even City Boy's face fell when I told him her new owner's would be here on Sunday to pick her up. He considers Quiet Storm to be his puppy, his barn building buddy.

And so it is that we head into a difficult week, one that will be filled with bittersweet rides and goodbyes.


Rising Rainbow said...

Am I correct? Did I read you are parting with two in one week? That would break my heart. And I can understand your special attachment for Quiet Storm with her being so important to your daughter. Funny how things change. I hope that both horses will be happy and healthy in their new homes.

Does that mean you have room for one more?? lol

Simply Marvelous said...

Hummm ... interesting about the tree branch vs. the rake handle.

Perhaps being in the wild, the tree branches were familiar, especially if they were standing under the tree when the wind blew and a branch came down on their back.

Interesting reading about your progress.

Now about what Rising Rainbow says: room for one more?

In one of your photos of the mustangs, there was a mustang that was silver grey . Can't get that one out of my mind. Very unique. I hope it went to a good home.

Tracey said...

Well, with two moving out, that means there are two stalls left open... Am I bad to be thinking of how best to fill them already?

There were several of those silver grays, or grullas, at the adoption. Very pretty, aren't they?

photogchic said...

Wow...I will really miss your girls. Sounds like you worked hard to find amazing new homes. I love the photo of Darling on Quiet Storm...she looks so happy.