Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Tika's Progress


It's been cold. Way, way too cold. But it's a dry cold, so I'm happy! Unfortunately, I don't always get out to work with Tika while the sun is still visible. It doesn't actually show it's face in the morning until 9:40, and by 4 in the afternoon, it's descending behind the treetops. Sunlight, and the small amount of warmth that goes with it, is in short supply. But as long as I can see where I'm placing my feet, and where the horse is, I'm okay.

Tika thought that having a day off over the weekend meant we should take a week or two or six off. She didn't want to be caught, and any time I got close enough to start rubbing on her, the moment the second hand came up she was off like a shot. So out came my trusty training tool, the rope.

Have you ever tried to toss a rope over the back of a moving horse, when that moving horse is snugged up against a round pen panel? Let me tell you, it's easier to catch the panel. And I caught several panels Monday night before the rope finally landed on Tika's back. She stopped immediately, and although the rope slipped down her side, it didn't matter. In her mind, I'd won, so she stopped and let the halter slip over her lovely face. Which was a relief, as when the air gets as cold and dry as it is right now, it's not good for man nor beast to be running about and filling the lungs with frigid air.

Once haltered, Tika allowed me to lead her about and rub on her left side. Still a bit shy about the right, I can get over there for a moment or two before she begins to step away. On Saturday, I actually ponied her a little from Sandy. Not that you can get much done in a round pen that's only 25' across, but she didn't spook when I climbed onto his back, and she got the basics.

Last night she allowed me to run my hand the length of her body, from head to hip and dock of her tail, without moving away. Then I stepped to the right side to see how she'd react. To my utter delight, she allowed me to run my hand down the length of her body, past the hop and up onto her rump near the tail. What's more, on her more comfortable left side, I worked my hand down to her kneee, as well as under her belly where the cinch will eventually go.

Afterwards, I buried my face in her long, soft, fluffy coat, and she curved her neck gently around me in what I can only imagine as a hug. In reality I believe she was politely saying, "Please don't do that," but I choose not to acknowledge her actual feelings and will substitute my own. Someday, Tika will truly enjoy all this loving.



strivingforsavvy said...

I am looking forward to reading as you progress. I have my own little project - an extremely scared quarter horse mare. She was rescued from the feedlot and must have had some terrible experiences in her short life. I a progressing with her, but it is painfully slow! Your blog encourages me.

Tracey said...

Striving, one thing I've learned over the past few years is, don't get caught in the trap of blaming past experiences. My horses come with a clean record, yet I've had head shy horses, kickers, biters and completely trusting souls come through here. Some horses are just who they are, and that may be why your mare was at the feedlot.

Go back and read the Sunny posts. She was a very slow go, too! Just keep plugging away at it daily and don't be discouraged when some days you find yourself going backwards. That happens from time to time. Good luck and keep me posted as to your progress!

strivingforsavvy said...

I read all the Sunny posts. Thanks!