Sometimes Tarma just can’t with me, and really makes me work to be with her and be a good person for her to deal with. Other times everything just flows. Still other times a lot goes right and some things are just like, “Really, mare? Please, sort yourself out.” Yesterday was the latter! It was pony pedicure day, so Rachel convinced me to play hooky for the afternoon (read: texted me a simple question) and fit a ride in at Whipple Creek County Park, her old stomping grounds, before the farrier arrived. At first Tarma insisted on her “race around, buck and fart” routine in the arena while I cheered her on, but when I sidled up to her and stopped 10 feet away with a peppermint, she accepted my contribution and let me put her boots on while ground tied.
Whipple Creek is a busy urban park and requires dogs to be on leashes, so my initial thought was to leave Benny in the trailer with the fan on. Thankfully the park was quiet, with few folks out and about thanks to school starting. I kitted up my new sponge leash from Moss Rock Endurance (thank you!) and ponied my dog on the trails. I thought it would be a bit difficult, but both Benny and Tarma just accepted this weird new ask from their human and were perfectly content. Benny didn’t pull or meander too much and Tarma marched right along as always without any weird faces. Huh. I admit, this ease threw me for a bit of a loop until I thought that just maybe, I’m not as horrible of a trainer of spicy chocolate mares and Labradorks as I thought.
Of course, when we added speed the wheels came off a bit. Tarma was snarky about Cody being in front of her and decided not to have brakes, once shoving past Cody on a narrow trail causing me to furiously lecture her and apologize to Rachel, who really just wanted a quiet ride in the woods. In her great wisdom, Rachel gave us the lead and Tarma trotted along on a loose rein, ratable and content once again. God forbid the gelding get to lead.
When we returned to the trailer, I discovered I’d lost a boot (for the first time in a long while, I switched her size 2s to the front to try it out). Rachel got her quiet ride by zooming out alone to look for it, so Benny could have a break from the heat. Tarma only called out for Cody twice and didn’t paw at all, stark contrast to where I tied her to the trailer last weekend for half an hour (she could see him, he was 20 yards away eating) and she pawed and screamed, telling me that wasn’t a fun state of affairs for her.
This was the first farrier visit ever where she was truly relaxed and chill, not just dealing with whatever was going on. Farrier nights are controlled chaos, there’s six horses and just as many dogs and women and kids usually around. Our wonderful, thoughtful, educating farrier always leaves us for last, usually because we never mind him being late as it gives us more time to hang out and we end up picking his brain for tips and tricks. It’s not a bad thing when your farrier, in the course of giving lectures and clinic talks, holds up your barn as the shining example of how your horses feet should look.
Usually Tarma is the most guarded, she’ll stand but she was never really thrilled to have her feet handled. Last night she yawned and licked and her head hung level and she didn’t lean on the farrier too much. She didn’t dance or swing around like she can sometimes, trying to find a spot where she can keep eyes and ears on everything going on. As soon as he was done she put her head into him, asking for love, which she only does when she’s really chilled out. Another sign I’m not doing terribly by her, despite our occasional struggles. All in all, a lovely day and a good mare and a tired dog.