Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Driving Miss Tika

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Among the many things Tika has learned to cope with over the past year, the most important was her lesson in standing tied. She would fly into a panic the moment she realized she hit the end of a rope, and that is certainly not a good thing. I'd tried several different methods, the one leg hobble (she stood with her foot raised to her chin waiting for someone to rescue her), the blocker tie ring (hello? What good is a tie that isn't really tied?), and simply wrapping that long rope around the hitching rail. But if it could be pulled loose, it was. And if it couldn't? She'd sit down and pull like her life depended on it. She broke a halter and a snap on her lead (granted, not a heavy duty snap) before I decided ground tying was good enough.

But then one day, she figured it out. She pulled back, and nothing gave way, so she stood nice and relaxed as I saddled her up. What was with that? A week later, same thing. Pull, give up, and that was it. Last week I tied her to the hitching rail at the riding club and even saddled her up from the off side without her coming unglued. My girl is figuring it out.

And she's beautiful, too, don't you think?

Ooops...back on track.

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I went to the hardware store and bought some rope and snaps this past weekend. Yesterday I hauled the Diva to the arena and clipped the snaps to her halter and began ground driving. This was horrifying to Tika. How dare I stand so far behind and demand she move forward! Unacceptable. And turn? What the heck was that all about? Good grief, I swear we looked like a blind woman teaching a six year old how to drive her to the corner market for a bottle of whiskey.

But that was yesterday. Today? Much better. Tika was more relaxed. That is to say, less frantic. She still trotted out and even cantered at one point (round pens...gotta love 'em!), but she learned to give and started making some bends and turns without completely coming unglued.

And then? What was I thinking? We went out into the big arena where there were no panels to hold us together. And we walked down the middle, and turned left and right; a little sloppy, somewhat confused, but we did it. We stopped, and even though the head went sky high, it was a stop and a wait for the next command. Rather than pushing the panic button in the larger space, Tika actually relaxed and listened. I was so, so proud of her, and my confidence in our first ride is climbing.

Meanwhile...Curt has been busy in his future saddle shop. I stopped in for a bit this morning to see what had been going on over the weekend. The panels are on the walls, the ceiling is up, and the door is in place. Coming right along, Mr. Storbakken! Before long we'll have that online leather works shop up and running!

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Curt looks at the paneling he's just hung in the stairwell.

7 comments:

Dom said...

Well she certainly is pretty...

Kate said...

Good work with Tika - she's smart and figures things out, I think.

Becky said...

I know you're past this point with Tika, but have you ever tried the bike tire innertube method? Where you tie the innertube to the fence, and then tie the horse to tube? The rubber gives enough that they can fight against as much as they want and streeeeeetch it and not feel 100% trapped. Eventually they get tired and have to give in because their muscles are giving out.

I've only tried this with one horse and it worked great. If you don't like this method, I'd love to hear why. It seems like such an easy fix that I am surprised more people don't use it... I wonder if there's some kind of dangerous aspect to it I'm not considering.

Becky said...

Oh, and yes - Tika's gorgeous. That just goes without saying :)

Crystal said...

She sure is a beauty, and she figured it out! Wow ground driving, soon you will e riding her like its no big deal.

Shirley said...

Progress!
When I first saw the picture of Curt it looked like he was lying down in a real narrow spot, till I scrolled down far enough to see the stairs

Linda said...

You're an inspiration, and I'm going to be following you like glue now because I've got to do the same thing with Beautiful this spring--the baby days are over--and, honestly, I'm pretty nervous about the next step. All my other babies, I've started and then sent them off--but I really feel like Beautiful needs to stay here and have me do it all.