An Old Mare Teaching a Filly New Tricks
Hey all, I'm Liv. I'm 18, I have nine horses, with two on the way. I've always been a bit more "in tune" than the other people I know, since I was introduced to my first lesson horse about 12 years ago. I also have an affinity for the horse no one else likes, or the one with the screaming obvious problem no one else sees but me. This is represented in my mostly unbalanced, but getting there herd. I love each and every one of them (I'm really trying to love Delite, I'm really trying!) in my own way, and love the things that they have so willingly taught me.
Listed below, in order of them coming into my life and with a story attached to each, is my herd.
Tikki was my first horse. She wasn't what my mom wanted, she wasn't what I was looking for, but she was free. A spunky 6yr old dapple grey QH/App mare that was too smart. She could break out of a stall in 17 seconds flat even with the best of locks, eat seven acres to the dirt, solo, in less than four days, and loved kids. Her only rider had been a 3 yr old that was sat up on her back for a few minutes. Tikki is handicapped, but she doesn't let it stop her. She has a severely clubbed hoof, and according to everyone is a pasture ornament (a job she does well). She is the first one to the fence, and hobbles around after me when I have a halter in my hand. To Tikki, a halter means we're going on a grand adventure. She has a huge heart. A story I tell of her often happened with my neighbor's disabled grandson, who is wheelchair-bound. When he was young, she bent down, stuck her head and neck through a three board fence, and let him pet her until he tired of it. She has this amazing ability to liven and lighten up anyone's day.
Beau (Old Man) was my second horse. Old man is about 25 now, and there is only one horse alive who doesn't hate him and constantly try to kill him. We'll get to her later. He is always underweight, despite being fed 3x what my pregnant mares get. His food is watered down, mashed, specially bought, and even then he still looks like he's been forcibly starved. He thrives on structure, but that is something that is hard to give at my farm. Beau is an Anglo Arab who's name used to be Razzle Dazzle, and used to be a show jumper and dressage horse. He taught me how to ride, took me over low jumps until I was 14, and taught me that a canter can be really, really, REALLY, fast. He taught me how straight a straight line can be, and how perfectly you can pull off a circle. He is happiest when going the same pattern over and over until my brain melts. When I would ride my TWH gelding across the fence, Beau would trot on the the other side, showing us how it's *really* done. Amateurs. My old man is being donated to a hippotherapy center this summer so he can be happy with a very set schedule, going in a circle, carrying a light load and helping disabled children.
Delite. The horse that I can never seem to get along with. She is my mom's horse, a sorrel 21yr old 15 hander Tennessee Walker with an attitude rivaled only by Satan himself. Not that anyone else sees her as that. She is a perfect angel on the ground around every other human in existence. Just not me. At her core, she is extremely insecure. She has been abused in the past, and unlike my other horses, she really clings to it. She's terrified of men, people with sunglasses, etc. She is incredibly aggressive to other horses, but loves all people. Except those who try to draw her out of her shell. My mom loves her so much she bred her last year to A JFK's Monopoly, a horse I love dearly, and we are expecting a foal just about any day now. I'm going to attempt to imprint him/her, as I believe most of Delite's problems were caused by people, not bred into her. But she is my mom's horse, and her choice. I've learned from her that everyone and every horse handles abuse and neglect differently.
Angel, my horse mom, is another Walker, and reason I've referred to myself as the filly in the title of this thread. A little 14 or so hander, she LOVES being pregnant. I mean, LOVES it. She flirts with my poor geldings until the day she gives birth, and just about jumps on them when the foal is born. I call her Mom sometimes, as she's adopted me as her foal. From the moment she knew me, she would correct me for doing stupid things. She would nudge me with her front hoof, or nuzzle me on my back to get me to do something "correctly." She doesn't really like people, but isn't aggressive. She simply likes to be left alone, and loves to take care of foals. Angel does not have time to mess with fools. I've seen her buck and hit my 17hh mare in the head, all the way from down there. Her babies are smart little things that get her determination, sense of humor, love of other little ones, and tough nature. Her filly, Boss Lady (which we will get to later) is one of the smartest animals I've ever met. I suspect if Angel would get her one track mind off of getting pregnant, she would rival her daughter. She's due to foal any second now.
Maverick, the sweetest and slowest creature ever. My obese dog with a pin in her leg and a pronounced limp is faster than him. I bought him from a very sweet couple in Gallatin, TN. They had spoiled him beyond belief, and had to sell him as his owner's hip broke years ago and she wasn't able to climb up on his huge 16hh frame as well as she thought she could. I rode him for a while with her partner, who kept having to slow her smaller mare down to catch up with us. Mav isn't lazy, she let me know. She's worked construction for years, and had killer calves. She'd never spurred him, but had done everything but hurt him to get the guy to move. Mav was just the very incarnation of a Tennessee *Walker* and took it seriously. To this day, I have seen him gait maybe two or three times. He's easy to love, with a head belonging to a draft horse that is far too big for his body, and a gentle disposition. I taught him to give kisses early on, and he loves giving them. I get slobbered on just about every time I'm on the property, regardless of how clean I'm trying to stay. The big guy constantly reminds me to stop and smell the roses.
Ah, Bossy. My first foal, and lil sis. There is no greater ego check on God's green earth than a 100lb grey filly who thinks she rules the world, and you are her servant. She was "halter trained" by day 3, and could "longe" by two and a half months. Now, I put quotes around those, because they weren't exactly the normal versions. They were Bossified. I would teach her something, and she would get it perfect, then look up at me as if saying, "Wait, that's it? You're so stupid, anyone could do that." The next day, I would come back and try to repeat the exercise. But it would be Bossified. What was the day before a straight line from the Birch tree to the water trough became a wavy line done backwards with me trying to convince her that her head was supposed to go in front while walking. Or putting on her halter. Oh, I never knew it was this complicated! She would stick her nose in the first hole that presented itself, and would not let me take it out. Boss Lady would then begin to walk backwards, again, with no lead rope on and me not with her, until her butt hit the fence. She'd kick the fence, race around until the halter came off, and I'd have to catch her all over again. I honestly thought we'd never get along, she was too headstrong and smart, and I was about the same. Flash forward to now, as a yearling, where she is an amazing horse. She's calmed down, loves the halter (adventure!) and we walk almost every day. She plays with the dogs, and is fed with my two 16hh geldings because they're the only ones who can hold their own against her. She's the only one that likes Beau because she is above him in the herd, even at her own 13hh. I love that little filly to death, despite wanting to kill her half the time. She is absolutely bombproof, except with the farrier, but we're getting there. She's ended up a black minimal sabino with three white socks, but nothing will ever replace the memory of the little grey filly who fell asleep in my lap after arguing with me for two hours.
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