The Ides of March
Monday, March 13, 2017 was a noteworthy day. Call it bad luck, bad Karma, bad timing or just plain bad news. The minute the stock trailer rolled into the barnyard, Tilly started having fits. She knew it wasn’t her trailer and I guess she smelled a rat.
The following photographs of Tilly capture her typical fit. The actual events of March 13 could not be photographed because all hands were on the end of a rope. This is how things went.
At four years old, Tilly is ready for the next step in her development–saddle training by a pro who can get her attention. She has been a fine filly since we got her at six months as a weanling, giving us fits at times but basically being cooperative and showing real signs of intelligence. I had her in a daily routine of desensitizing tactics, lunge exercises, and a pretty thorough grooming ritual.
We had previously worked with Tilly tying her to a patience pole, saddling her with a bareback pad and then a real saddle. She was reasonably calm. She crow-hopped a couple of times with the saddle, but settled down to her lunge routine. Being very head strong and sensitive about her mouth, she gave us resistance to a snaffle bit. We succeeded in getting it on her but not without a fight. I attribute some of this resistance to several nasty procedures she has undergone to clear up infection in her throat and gutteral pouches, as well as treating an eye for a corneal tear from a weed stem that poked through her face mask. Ah, horses can be a wonder!
But I digress. Back to March 13th, an unlucky day if you see it from Tilly’s perspective. Not only did she start to act up in the corral, she carried on her tantrum and resisted getting into the stock trailer. Ord and Michael had to push her from behind with a large cotton rope (this was not our first rodeo) while I hung onto her lead rope and tried to steer her into the trailer. Finally she knew she had to do it and jumped in. I fastened her lead to the ring at the end of the trailer and closed the inner gate on her. We loaded several bales of hay, closed the end gate and she was ready to ride, wide-eyed with fear.
I miss her terribly and spend time looking at all the photographs we have captured of her since she was a weanling. This is one of my favorites which I used on our Christmas card. She is wearing a personalized halter which was a gift from Kristin and Chris.
We borrowed a youth saddle to place on her first, since it would not be so heavy and cause her much alarm. Her expression says it all.
She is trying to dislocate her snaffle bit, which she found quite annoying. Boy is she in for some surprises!
My first sight of Tilly, after waiting eleven months for her birth on Mother’s Day, 2012. We engaged a mare that belonged to my niece Sue, selected a sire after a few months of research and we were on our way.
Tilly’s sire is a handsome black and white tobiano paint, Sugs Tru Luck, and we hoped she would have his coloration. When breeding for color, anything goes. Tilly’s dam is a registered paint breeding mare, although she is predominantly sorrel. Tilly seems to have taken on the colors of JB Classic, her grandfather who was a sorrel overo. Tilly is registered as a bay tobiano/overo. She has blue eyes.
Meanwhile, back at the barn
In Tilly’s absence we laid a wooden plank floor in her stall and covered it with heavy rubber stall mats. The ancient barn where she lives had a dirt floor and she had dug a hole in her favorite corner that went down to hard-pan clay and was a mess to clean up.
The mats will cushion Tilly’s legs and feet while she is indoors. They are also easy to sweep clean and remove the wood chips that go down each day for her bedding. We did some additional strengthening of the walls, patched a leak in the roof, and we are ready for Tilly when she comes home. In the meantime, I have to wait for Ord to call me and tell me 1) he needs more hay; 2) she is ready for visitors; or 3) she is ready to come home. He made it perfectly clear HE WOULD CALL ME. I got the message.