OK, so technically, this is Tia's first ride since she has been with me. (Warning: This post will be Pic Heavy)
I have been doing a lot of ground work and lunging with her to make sure that she at least has most of the basics down. Before anyone is ever allowed on one of my horses, the horse must know the whoa command. No exceptions. Tia knows her whoa command! She actually prefers the WHOA to any other "gait" LOL.
My wonderful student, Becca, has agreed to be Tia's rider while we work her until she is sold. I decided to build a makeshift round pen to free lunge her in before having Becca ride her. I have been lunging her on a line, which she has gotten much better about, but my shoulder just cant take the pressure sometimes and free lunging, in my opinion, builds such a better relationship. The moment we started free lunging, her attention was on me and she was licking and chewing a lot. She was much more responsive to my body position and voice commands off the line.
Mom...What are we doing?? Where is my nice comfy surcingle?
Lunging on the line.
First time with a bit (Since I got her!) Just a plain ole snaffle!
More free lunging
Free lunging in side reins.
I had walked out of the ring while she wasn't looking...after I snapped this pictures
she immediately came over to me like "what do you think you are doing out there?"
After about 15 minutes of lunging, with a bit and side reins on for about 10 minutes of the 15, Becca and I decided it was time to mount up.
Mom...why is Becca tightening the girth??
Tia stood very well for Becca to hop on. We took a moment for Becca to wiggle and pet and move around in the saddle. The whole time this was happening, Tia looked to me for comfort. After a few minutes, we walked. Tia followed me for about 5 minutes before I sent Becca the signal to take control. And they walked.
Tia good way. The more they rode together, the more relaxed she got.
Are my friends still out there??
Tia's bad way.
Big scary noisy truck going down the road. Tia's stopped, watched the truck, sighed and moved on.
(This is one of my favorite pictures!)
Every time Becca would ask Tia do do something, whether it be turn, move on, etc, Tia checked with me before doing anything. This mare is def a one person horse. She bonds with her person and I truly believe that once you have that bond with her, she will protect you no matter what. She only pulled two stunts the entire ride. The first was acting like she was going to lay down with Becca on her, which was quickly reprimanded and not tried again. The second was a little tiny buck that Becca quickly whacked her for and she didn't try that again either.
They then moved on to trotting!
I also got video. I have edited out the boring stuff (standing, excessive time walking and taking breaks to scratch her face). The camera put itself into compact mode which made the picture quite grainy. I will be videoing this weekends ride as well. Hopefully the camera wont do that again!
Her stifle is still "sticky" to me. It has come a very long way since I have started having April out to work on her, but at this point I feel she needs something extra. I have started her on Next Level joint supplement. I chose this supplement over the Dumor that TSC had simply because of the level of MSM in it. I am a huge MSM fan. Once this container of NL is done, I will probably switch her to a cheaper supplement and see how she does. I am really hoping this helps her. You will see in the video how off she is on that right side. Rehabbing stifle issues is tricky. Lots of straight lines and poles and hills - I have to lunge her, for Becca's safety, which means lots of circles. I think I am going to make the round pen bigger this weekend and see if that helps. I will also be moving some ground poles into the ring to get her to lift and disengage that hip.
All in all, the girls had a great ride. I'm not going to lie. I cried like an idiot for a few minutes. This mare has come such a long way, and she TRUSTS me, something I thought she would never be able to do again. It is very obvious to me now that she was started under saddle way to young and way to roughly. My thought is that this is why they bred her as a 3 year old. She wouldn't settle down and conform, they bred her to get the "piss and vinegar" out of her. When that didn't work, they sent her to slaughter. In some ways, I thank God that her previous owner got her from the Camelot Auction. How else would she have ended up with me? It was by God's grace alone that my friend, Michelle, contacted me about Tia instead of someone else. There are plenty of other horse people in the state of MD that would have taken her. But Michelle contacted me.
Michelle - if you read this blog, THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I wasn't ready for another horse, especially an emaciated, known to be a nasty SOB mare with very little training. At least I didn't think I was. Thank you Michelle.
Since Tia has come to me, she no longer kicks, she is wonderful for the farrier, excellent for the vet, she now rides and has very nice ground manners. I don't tolerate behavior like she had when she came to me. She now goes out with 2 other mares, a TB gelding and 2 evil goats. Everyone gets along. The pecking order is established. She LOVES the water. She will go swimming in our pond every chance she gets..even in 50 degree weather!
I have someone who is interested in coming out to see her the weekend after Christmas. A huge part of me really hopes this lady likes her, and another part of me wants to keep Tia forever. I keep reminding myself that I am doing the right thing for Tia by finding her a wonderful forever home. And that maybe, by finding her her home, another horse that may need help will find me. I have thoroughly enjoyed the rehab process with Tia. Sure, there are been moments of "holy crap", but the love and trust that this mare has shown me is in-surpassible.
I will end this post with a few photos of Tia after her first ride and the link for the video. I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas.
I have decided to offer Tia up for sale early. If the right person doesnt come along she wont go anywhere.
Thanks In Advance AKA: Tia Registration pending with The Pinto Horse Association of America. Bloodlines unknown. Beautiful black and white pinto mare. Stands 14.3-15 hands. 6 years old. Currently being completely restarted under saddle. UTD on coggins, worming. I don’t do fall shots - if sold before Spring shots, I will cover them if need be. Beautiful mover. Wonderful personality. A very loving
little girl who looks to her handler for permission and respect. She loves to learn and be worked with. She does require an Intermediate rider/handler. There is not a mean bone in her body. She tends to be a bit flighty at times. An excellent home is a MUST. She will be sold with a buy back clause in the contract and a 2 week trial period. If she doesn’t work out, she comes home. Price will increase with training. $2000 OBO (To EXCELLENT home only!)
Well, I did it. I finally just dug my heels in and worked Tia. I have been making excuses for quite a while now because I have been afraid of falling more in love with the mare. I can now honestly say, there is no longer a worry about that. Evil mare.
Now, I can honestly say, she did well. She has always had an issue with this whole lunging thing. She is much better to the right, and quite horrible at the left, so every time we go left, she balks and plants that shoulder and spins herself around. Today, was the first time I said NO. The past few times I have lunged her have been for about 15 minutes each time, I was worried about her hip/stifle, and when she balks I have always politely asked her to return the way she was going. Today, was different. I have had enough of the "I dont want to's" and "but Moooommmmm's" and I put my foot down. It only took her about 30 minutes to figure out I wasn't playing anymore and she decided to be good.
Of course that was after...
oh and this...
Look what I can do!!!!
Yeah. The one I didn't get on camera was the wonderful stop, spin, rear AT ME complete with squeal, and then head toss. Defiant little bugger! We had a wonderful Come To Jesus meeting after that one.
This is where we ended up!
The session ended about an hour after it started. Tia was pretty sweaty and I honestly felt bad about how hard I had worked her....until we got in the barn....
Got in the barn, removed the bit-less bridle, went to put her halter on her, and WHAM! She threw her head in my face..No No #1. When I went to reprimand her, she squealed and swung her butt at me..No No #2. I verbally reprimanded, she refused to give me her head and swung her butt again..No No #3. Three strikes, she's out. I whacked her on the butt, which succeeded in her squealing, jumping over the hay bale for tonight, and then hauling ass out of the barn and down to her pasture. This succeeded in PISSING ME OFF!
Now, my rule is that you have 3 seconds to kill a horse. That rule ends at 3 seconds. It doesn't mean you have 3 seconds to kill them when you catch them, its a immediate deal. That evil mare refused to be caught (remind you that she still has her surcingle, pad and side reins on) for at least 5 minutes. When I finally got her to chill out enough to put her halter on, the 3 second rule was over, Damn it! So, back up to the barn we went. To Stand! On Cross Ties! Forever! Muuaahhhaaaa!
Sorry. So back to the barn we went. She stood on cross ties for about 10 minutes before I took her tack off, brushed her down, did her feet, sprayed her with Healthy Haircare, gave her a treat and then hand walked her back to the pasture like a good little Pasture Pony, which she has decided she likes being way better than a pony that has to work for a living.