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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Time to carve out a small bit of the internet for our chronicles.

Some of you joined me on this mare's critique thread when I was first considering buying her. Since then, she has been vetted and hauled home, and the long journey of getting to know one another will now begin to unravel before us.

Sky Horse Wheel Cloud Tire

(Fresh off the trailer)

"Morticia" is a 4 year-old track-trained (but never raced -- she did not have the heart to run) TB mare. She is 15.3 at the wither, with perhaps some more growing to do. Her silky, California-short coat is a rich mahogany bay without a fleck of white; her tail is full, her forelock sparse, her muzzle uber soft. She has a predilection for standing with a hind casually rested. One of the grooms today told me she has the particular swirl pattern and broad forehead of an intelligent horse. There is merit in taking the folklore of the old horsemen and women seriously, and Morticia certainly reflects this observation. She is already a favorite of those who have handled her at the barn, greeting everyone with a sweet expression, walking on a loose lead, coolly taking in her new surroundings with interest.

She was a touch sensitive about her belly being brushed this morning, however. I do not doubt that she is internalizing the stress of her move and may be developing ulcers. I'm starting her on U-Gard and probiotics tomorrow with some TCS. She has hay in front of her constantly, as well as salt and mineral blocks. I hung up a stall treat/toy today and have one of "Uncle Jimmy's Hanging Balls" on order...

Horse Liver Fawn Terrestrial animal Working animal

(Investigating)

Horse Stable Working animal Liver Wood

(First night)

We went on a long stroll together around the property today. I admit that I was a touch nervous, her being a new horse and all, but she never balked or spooked nor crowded me. We checked out one of the indoor arenas (she actually seemed to want to go inside the arena itself, bumping the gate with her nose, but maybe tomorrow); we sniffed some noisy ATVs (big property, the hands use a variety of loud motorized thingies to get around in short order). She has two other horses in adjacent quarantine turnout that she gets along with and was politely intrigued by any other horse we happened to walk near.

Horse Sky Working animal Liver Horse tack

(A pleasant walkabout)




Last night, I was in her stall with her loose for a brief brush down and she kept swinging her bum at me. Alarming. Was she threatening to kick? Stall aggressive? Over-stimulated and requesting space? As I made to leave, it finally dawned on me what was happening.
She was asking for bum scratches.

Head Eye Vertebrate Horse Working animal


I obliged and she was swaying from side to side in pleasure, practically trying to crouch down so I could reach the supreme itchy spot. I was proper chuffed indeed that my new horse wasn't trying to kill me with her intimidatingly large behind, and made sure to make a note of this behavior to my trainer and the grooms, lest they be caught off guard.
(Wellll....intimidating to me. I'm used to wee Arabs!)
Horse Sky Ecoregion Wood Fence


(Back in her temporary turnout, interested in the jumping happening in an arena nearby. She is going to fill out so nicely, I think.)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I love her so glad it turned out well so far! The bum scratches is funny I have been swiped sides by a cob who demanded bum scratches once. I think its gonna go great and look forward to more updates :) Fantastic pictures!
Thanks! I was laughing about it afterward. My mom had an OTTB as a kid who would do the same thing, seriously freaking out people who didn't know any better. I grew up with stories about this quirky horse, she ADORED him. Really made her smile when I told her that this TB did the same thing to me.

I can tell that she has a tendency to want to be in your space/become pushy when it comes to asking for affection, so I'll need to be firm with her about that. People who don't know you will definitely NOT appreciate your big ol rear end suddenly shoved in their faces, Tish.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thank you for reading and for the comments, all.

Shorter entry today. Yesterday we did a short lunge on the line in the big indoor arena. She handled it well, was a tad sassy but that is to be expected. Unfortunately her turnout does not allow much room for galloping around until she is out of the new horse quarantine period, so I am trying to supplement that with lots of hand walking and some lunging.

Horse Working animal Halter Horse tack Liver


We feel like her hips and neck are tight, so she will be seeing the chiropractor soon. The farrier also looked at her feet yesterday and feels that she was trimmed unevenly, especially on her fronts, so that will be re-done this week.

Today, the last warm day for a while I think, she was bathed with warm water, scrubbed down, and wore her new wool cooler. She was a touch squirmy for the bathing but was still fantastic. I went slowly and used a rag to clean her face instead of blasting her with water. She held still for that!

Working animal Sleeve Grey Fawn Dog breed

(Fancy butt braids)

Sky Ecoregion Working animal Road surface People in nature


(Candid shot of us)

I played with her feet. She is unsure about her hinds being picked up, but I think with daily handling that will get better.

Horse Sky Working animal Liver Horse supplies

(With my mum, removed cooler for the last few laps in hand since the sun was so warm. I was watching her walk, she oversteps in her hinds but I still sense some tightness in the lumbar sacral area)

She also received her first dose of GastroGuard, although I am ordering compounded omeprazole and sucralfate through the vet. She gets alfalfa for breakfast and lunch, and mixed hay for dinner, with the hope that the increased calcium will help her stomach as well. I also started her on U-Gard, MSM, and biotin in a small amount of Triple Crown Senior that I will try raising if needed. I would love to feed her alfalfa pellets and beet pulp instead, but soaking is not really possible in the boarding situation.

She is such a good girl.
 

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She’s beautiful! Looks like she’s coming along welll.

Her coat seems very shiny - how did you do that or did she come with a naturally super glossy coat or is it just a quirk in the photos?
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 · (Edited)
She’s beautiful! Looks like she’s coming along welll.

Her coat seems very shiny - how did you do that or did she come with a naturally super glossy coat or is it just a quirk in the photos?
It's just her coat. It's super glossy and seal-slick even though it is a TAD fluffy (I don't think she is gonna grow much of a winter coat at all this year). I have a heavy weight blanket ready for when winter finally returns in a few days.

At her last home, she was only getting alfalfa and nothing else. It's likely a product of that (some horses get a nice bloom in their coat on alfalfa) and regular grooming :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
A very elegant mare, indeed.

Today she was long lined for the first time in her life, in all likelihood. She caught on fast with zero drama and there was quite a bit of commotion in the small barn to boot (lesson kids, ponies, a gaggle of parents and other people, dogs). She's a thinker, this one.
At first, my trainer used the lines while I was at her head to practice zig zagging in the arena and getting used to the lines themselves. Nothing phased her.

Horse Vertebrate Working animal Mammal Horse supplies

(A potato quality still from the video)

I did not get a pic, but when we passed the mirrors on one side she did want to stop for a minute and lick her reflection.

After this, my trainer did the same in the round pen, w/t and changing directions. She did not get "up" and listened impeccably the entire time. Behold, some more video stills taken from me lurking behind the door and shooting through a hole in the panels:

Horse Working animal Bit Horse supplies Sorrel


Horse Working animal Horse supplies Bridle Horse tack


Horse Vertebrate Working animal Horse tack Horse supplies




As you can see, she was interested in the hubbub going on beyond the walls but lifting her head was about the extent of it. After this, we did our group zig zag in the arena again for a minute. She was significantly more relaxed than the first time and we ended it on that good note. She then returned to the cross ties where she stood calmly, for the most part (she did get a touch concerned when the other horses left, bobbing her head a bit and looking after them, but she quieted down quickly).

And two pics from yesterday, when I introduced her to the big outdoor round pen:
Horse Vertebrate Working animal Liver Mammal


Sky Horse Cloud Working animal Horse supplies


Her feet are addressed tomorrow, and I am happy to report that she did not mind me brushing or stroking her tummy today, so the treatment seems to be working (I decided to use Nexium).
 

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She is an amazing horse!

I do owe you a huge thank you!

A few months ago I adopted a pony (Prince) from a rescue...at first he was very skittish and wary, but over time he's gotten more comfortable. The past few weeks he has taken to putting his butt towards me sometimes...which is unusual because the rescue trained him to always face people (he kicked when they first got him). He's never tried to kick me, and I haven't done anything but tell him it's rude to point your butt at people and push him over because I didn't really know why he was doing it.....when he did it yesterday....your post popped into my head .....and yep, that was it...he wanted butt scratches!
So I thank you both and Prince thanks you both!

Prince: My human is so stupid....
Horses: How stupid is your human?
Prince: My human is so stupid....she didn't recognize the universal signal for butt scratches!
Working animal Liver Smile Terrestrial animal Snout
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
She is an amazing horse!

I do owe you a huge thank you!

A few months ago I adopted a pony (Prince) from a rescue...at first he was very skittish and wary, but over time he's gotten more comfortable. The past few weeks he has taken to putting his butt towards me sometimes...which is unusual because the rescue trained him to always face people (he kicked when they first got him). He's never tried to kick me, and I haven't done anything but tell him it's rude to point your butt at people and push him over because I didn't really know why he was doing it.....when he did it yesterday....your post popped into my head .....and yep, that was it...he wanted butt scratches!
So I thank you both and Prince thanks you both!

Prince: My human is so stupid....
Horses: How stupid is your human?
Prince: My human is so stupid....she didn't recognize the universal signal for butt scratches!
View attachment 1120643
omg, I DID feel like a dunce once I figured it out (and I swear she was giving me a look like, “Really, human?” But…new horse, literally the first night and for a hot second I was thinking she was super stall aggro or something and I better get out of there 😅 Best to always wane on the side of caution with horses, but still kind of funny after the fact.

Nothing exciting to report today. She did great for the farrier. Had a small moment of Baby Brain with me on our walk. It was cold, she was fresh, and fixated on one of her quarantine buddies who was going bonkers a distance away…she pushed into my space, jigged a touch, and when she ignored me asking her to kindly please don’t, I shook the leadrope in her face and she jumped back with a small rear like I caught her by surprise. The rest of the walk, and practice standing patiently, was uneventful and she was back to her old self. As mellow as she is, she is still a youngster and the weather was weather.

Getting together with Trainer for an actual plan tomorrow. I think she will start feeling more confident once she has some routine.

Since I try to include
pics in my updates, here is the wild unkempt beast after I let her go back into QT turnout:
Horse Wheel Sky Working animal Cloud
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 · (Edited)
tl;dr: Tish acted out, but it seems like normal stuff and she is coming along.

I will try to keep this brief!
Barely have had this mare a month, which is no time at all to settle in and I don't expect that to happen for a long while yet. Last week, she finally entered training. It did not exactly go smoothly. I was away at work when my trainer texted me to request an in-person parent teacher conference about my mare's behavior (gulp). She had not behaved well at all when she was taken into an arena for a lunge saddled, but in a halter by one of the understudies (who had never handled her before that point). Lots of rearing when being asked to change directions, challenging unacceptable behavior generally. They finally got her to go around at a trot both directions without a fuss. When walking her out after she was crowding into the handler's space and being a twerp. Then, she was tied and proceeded to have an epic 40 minute temper tantrum of wall banging and carrying on before she quieted.

I was distraught, trainers were soured, I had people telling me that perhaps she had been doped.

Well, the next day and all of the subsequent days my trainer (head trainer, let's refer to her as HD) took her on and she was "a different horse." Compliant, quiet, willing. This was in a saddle, bridle, full cheek snaffle and side reins.

Horse Dog Vertebrate Working animal Mammal

Horse Working animal Horse tack Mammal Bit


With each consecutive day she has improved. A little frisky yesterday morning after a weekend off and then settled right in. Even had "beautiful moments." The consensus is this: new environment, energy, being young, had a bad day, was confused perhaps, maybe clicked back into "track brain" when she was being asked to work/had been too fond of her vacation and was testing. Likely a combination of everything. For a hot minute I was terrified I had made a mistake, but horses are not machines and some bumps in the road were likely to come eventually.

Surprisingly, HD rode Tish today for the first time. I had again been stuck at work (nuts) but was shown pics and told that she moved well and did fine. I did find a weird short video of her as a long yearling/two year-old being roughly slapped about to "lunge" so there is also the possibility that lunging brings out evasive/protective behaviors in her. It will be a process. Can't wait until I'm back on her again.

New things about her I've learned:
She loves peppermints.
She prefers to pee in shavings and will literally hold it all day in turnout until she is brought inside. :oops:
She has anxiety when a horse leaves her line of sight if she is indoors. I think this comes from a heaping dose of insecurity about her new position in life and in the barn, hopefully it will recede in time.
Patience when standing tied is something we need to practice.

I hadn't seen her for three days before recently popping over there yesterday to say hello. She approached me in her turnout and gently held her nose into my neck while I stroked her face. It was the most affectionate "oh hi, you're back" sort of thing I've ever experienced from a horse.

Horse English pleasure Vertebrate Working animal Horse tack
 
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