Yesterday Tika had a visitor. Two, actually!
I had the farrier out in the morning to do the boys. Steve Holt! was a total twirp, and that's putting it far too nicely. He's gotten into some bad habits...mainly taking advantage of new farriers by trying to walk away mid nip. Naturally, he stands beautifully for me, but when someone else is doing the work? Not so much. Sandy, of course, is an absolute dream. Like any good horse trainer, I knew I'd need to end on a good note, so planned to have Steve Holt! (my ADD child) first and Sandy (born an old man) second so that the farrier would leave with something pleasant in his mind.
Before he left I asked him to meet with Tika. She, of course, pulled her Tika-tude with a new person. Ears pinned, dirty looks, stepping backwards. The farrier is a good hand, however, and downplayed it all, simply reached up and scratched her between the ears and continued to talk to me. She stood there looking sideways at him like a teenager with a grudge. I asked if he'd be willing to work on her if we got the vet to drug her like we had Sunny, and he said sure. That was encouraging...it means Steve Holt! didn't scare him off!
A couple hours later we had another visitor, a new friend from Canada who's been bitten by the Tika bug. Oh...she'll never admit it, but we know that's what it is. One look into this girl's eyes and you're hard pressed not to fall under her spell. Kristen had come down to look at a saddle I had advertised a moth or so ago, and I asked what kind of horse she was trying to fit. You have to know what the answer is...don't you? That's right, a mustang! So of course we were immediate sisters, and I introduced her to Sandy & Steve Holt!, and Apple Pony was still here then, I believe...golly, it's been more than a month, hasn't it? Well, not that it matters. What matters is that she also met Tika.
So yesterday when she came back down to the states, she naturally had to come by for another visit. I slipped a halter on Tika and Kristen slid between the rails to say hello. Ears pinned, dirty look, that wasn't going to bother Kristen. She simply stood alongside the red devil mare and talked to me while stroking her face. Tika was unsure how to handle this...she loves to be loved on, and I watched her struggle for the correct response to this second stranger who'd invaded her bubble in such a quiet, confident manner. Before long Kristen was leading her between panels and through the paddocks out to the round pen. I picked up my manure fork and started cleaning while Tika was led away.
Kristen's touch was light as she stroked the mare's neck and face. She found the spots that Tika enjoyed, and the spots she'd rather not have a stranger touch. Tika wouldn't allow her to step onto her right side, but she was relaxing and softening up on the left. At one point when Kristen took a step back and stopped, Tika threw her a look and then leaned in for more rubs.
And me? I was happy as a lark. Tika has been so aggressive with people other than me that it was encouraging to see her give herself up for Kristen. It gives me hope that this mare will someday be able to transition into someone else's hands. Not that I want her to leave...not just yet, and she's far from ready. But I know that someday she'll be ready.
And where was my camera during all this interaction? Well, it certainly wasn't focused on snapping photos of the Beautiful Wadatika, that's for sure. But I did get a couple of these two bozos!