Sunday, December 13, 2009

Miracle of Miracles!!!


It began as any other day...except for the snow part. That part is not an any other day weather occurrence, thankfully. But it surely was part of yesterday. And as you probably know, I am not a fan of the four letter S word. There is, of course, little I can do about it falling, and training must continue.

Tika hadn't worn the saddle since Thursday. On Friday, the too small sheet had been her only training exercise, and I'd given her Saturday off. So I wondered how she'd react to the approach of the saddle. Turns out, better than she had a few days ago. There are still aspects that are not appealing to her, but she stood relatively still for it to be lifted upon her back as well as for me to reach beneath for the girth.


Naturally, I had my de-spookers handy to help with the ground work. Chickens are wonderful at getting horses used to things flittering and fluttering around their feet. And legs. And heads. I went to feed the other night and couldn't figure out what that dark thing in Tika's stall was. Turns out it was one of the hens roosting on the hay manger.


Years ago I learned not to fret when one of my mustangs appeared to slip backwards in training. Sunny was notorious for moving three steps forward, then two steps back. It has, at this point, become almost unnoticeable to me when a horse's training lags or reverts. Tika has decided she doesn't know how to lead. Of course, that's kind of hard to overlook, since forward motion is a bit on the obvious side. Rather than walk around the paddock with me once her saddle was on, she planted her feet and gave me some lip. A bit of Tika-tude.

That was okay. I got even with her by putting the bridle on. She was then mouthing the bit and forgot she didn't know how to lead. We went into the round pen where I began rubbing her with the reins, tossing them over her neck or the back of the saddle. This is something Tika is very uncomfortable with, and I always feel bad when I see that sudden look of uncertainty in their eyes. You've worked and worked at building that trust...then you dash it all with one flip of the reins. But it's a phase that will end soon. After a few flips of the rein across her back, I went back to rubbing and building confidence again. Tomorrow we'll do it again, and the day after that, and the day after that, until she realizes that nothing is going to bite her.


Once un-tacked, as we stood their in the snow, I decided to pull out one of the blankets. I knew it would be too big for her, but figured I'd put it on her just to help with the desensitizing. This time I slipped it over her head without undoing the chest, and she stood still as it slid over her back and across her hips. Reaching beneath was once again her weak spot, and she danced in a couple of circles before I got both straps up beneath her belly.

Now...this blanket has hind leg straps, and I wondered if I'd be able to get them on without a kick in the head. No time like the present to give it a try, eh? The left leg first, since that's her easy side. I ran my hand down her back to her hip, then down the back of her leg, rubbing in circles and talking to her. She didn't mind, so I moved to the front of her leg, across the gaskin and then to the inside where I'd have to reach to get the strap. She side stepped a bit, but otherwise stood still. It was only a minute, then, before that strap was secure.

I walked to the right side, and she began turning circles around me. Definitely not what she wanted to be doing. Wasn't the left side enough? She kicked out once...half heartedly, mostly out of discomfort and fear. I continued to work, but she continued to spin whenever my hand slipped towards the front of her thigh. So I grabbed the nearby lunge whip and began to stroke her with that. This really sent her into orbit and she dashed in small circles around me, kicking out at the object that was between her legs. But a couple of mintues of this was enough to convince her that she could A) not escape being touched and B) when she stood still, the banging of the object stopped. Once she began to relax, I rubbed the inside of her leg with the whip, then slipped the leg strap into place and quickly clasped it to the blanket.

And despite it being a bit on the long side, the blanket actually laid across her body nicely. I decided to leave it on her for the remainder of the afternoon, which ended up being all night, since it stayed snugly in place and I didn't want to take it off and let her get cold.

It was about that time that I looked up into the corner of her stall. I have no clue what drew my eye upwards to the ceiling, but...wonder of wonders! Lookie what I saw!

Photobucket's a miracle!


Shirley said...

Or maybe photoshop....just sayin'.....

lytha said...


you gave me the biggest laugh so far while reading a horsey blog.


but...mustangs aren't supposed to be that pretty, are they? she is a little wildflower. thank you for sharing.

and that's some spider, too.

~lytha in germany

Tracey said...

Shirley...the miracle of technology, girlfriend!!!

Lytha, good to see you here, and glad to give you a horse laugh :)

PaintCrazy said...

I agree with Charlotte, Tika is definitely SOME HORSE! I'm totally in love with her from afar...

Paint Girl said...

What a good girl she is! Well, sort of a good girl! So happy to see she is being so accepting of new things.
I was also worried when I put Chance's blanket on, how she would do with attaching the leg straps. She didn't care at all, then I started thinking, well I did so much work with her hind legs, that is why she didn't even flinch!! Duh!

Connie Peterson said...

What a pretty girl! And she is doing so well .... and you are so patient!!

Pleased that Charlotte realizes how special your horse is. Maybe it should read "Some trainer!"

strivingforsavvy said...