"Tika," I called over the wind.
Her head came up and our eyes met. She began to take a few hesitant steps. I wondered momentarily if she would make a mad dash in an effort to escape. After all, this was only her second day out in the big field, and it was quite the blustery day. I didn't have to wait long to find out as the mare broke into a fast canter, mud splattering left and right as her hooves pounded the ground. But rather than veer off to the right, my girl kept her eyes on her target and came directly at me.
My lips curved into a smile as I watched that long mane whipping around in the wind. I wondered if she'd be able to stop before mowing me down in the slick mud, but she seemed to know just when to slow herself down, transitioning into a graceful walk the last few steps. She reached out to me, wondering where her treat was, picking it up in her lips and crunching on it's apple flavored goodness.
It was a scene from a dream. Who didn't have dreams of a wild horse galloping up to them and only them? Of course, most people's dreams aren't covered in a half inch of mud, which Tika currently was.
Yesterday, as you were all reading of our current dilemma, I was actually on a bit of a high. Tika's toes were getting extremely long, and something needed to be done. When we'd trimmed Sunny, the vet had stayed through the entire process, and with a slow farrier it had taken over two hours. That was a bill too high to afford, so I'd been considering doing my own trimming. But I didn't know where to start, so I asked Curt.
I swear sometimes that man must just want to roll his eyes back into his head at me. He sighed and said to just bring her down and he'd get the drug of choice (I can't remember what it's called...started with a W, I think) and have Josh do the trim. Sounded good to me. A new customer just happened to be there that morning, and he was also a vet, and as luck would have it, he had the happy drugs in the trailer along with tiny little needles that would be helpful in getting the drug into Tika. So the plan was to bring my girl back the following morning and we'd get her all doped up so Josh could take care of those nasty looking feet.
I didn't have my camera with me...couldn't hold on and shoot at the same time, but I'll tell you her toes had grown a good two inches from this point!
The following morning, Tika and I arrived just prior to Josh. We were in the arena, walking the perimeter and taking it all in. Curt came out and wondered if she'd try to bite him. No, I didn't think so. I led her into the light and stood at her head as Curt looked at her neck.
"Too much hair; not sure I can find the vein," he said, fingering her neck in an attempt to find the jugular. He shook his head and continued to push around. The needle finally was lifted towards her neck, the the instant she felt the prick of the pin, Tika jumped to life and flew backward and out of harm's way. Curt, too, jumped to a safe distance much like a cat. I followed Tika backward, settled her down and led her forward again (though now she really wasn't sure she wanted to be up there with me!)
Curt shook his head. "I barely even touched her...didn't even penetrate," he said, a bit of concern showing. Josh had returned from the barn at this point. I asked him to step up to her and he did, rubbing on her neck, wondering as well just where that vein was. I asked if he wanted to give it a try without the drugs, and he wasn't so keen on that. "I don't do broncs well," he said. After a couple minutes, Curt gave the needle another try, but the result was the same.
I settled Tika down again, and this time I picked up her front foot and put it down. Josh decided to go ahead and give it a try. He rubbed on Tika's neck and shoulder, then went for her left front foot. This has always been Tika's touchiest foot, but she stood like a pro and even let Josh put that foot between his knees! I was amazed, and I think both Josh and Curt were as well.
Before long, the first foot was done and it was time for the right side. Again, I had to pick it up first because she wasn't going to allow Josh access until I told her it was okay. Then he went to work and again, the hoof went between the knees and both the nippers and file got a work out.
The trim, while only the two front, took less time that it'd had taken Steve Holt! to get his last pedicure, and she was much better behaved! Josh took her from me and led her around. Tika tried sidestepping and avoiding him, but he didn't let her. He got into the center and made her move around him until she decided to focus and listen. He brought out another rope and started flicking it around her legs until she stood for him. It's all stuff she does for me, but not for other people, and this was so very good for her.
This is a place where Tika should be. She should be where there are a couple of experienced hands who are quiet and knowledgeable and not afraid to get into her space and make her listen. People who have the confidence to make her behave herself.
Too bad all of Curt's stalls are full...
Because if you haven't watched it, you should.
And if you have? You should probably watch it again!