Mora’s Story Part 1
By Beth Cook
5 by 5 inch Watercolor
On February 15th, Julie told me I could buy Mora for the cost of her back board and as Julie knew I really couldn’t afford two horses, I could work off Mora’s board by cleaning stalls after school. I jumped on the chance and when my tax return came in March I bought Mora.
Now, I don’t believe in changing an animal’s name, but in this case I had to, as my best friend’s name is Shawn and she categorically told me I had to. After much thought and searching, Mora was christened Morheleg, which means Black Ice in Elvish. It fits because, she is black and white, I’m from Alaska, so I drove on ‘black ice’ all the time in winter, and one of my favorite bands, AC/DC, had just released their Black Ice album. Of course I shortened that to Mora and call her “mi amore” an awful lot too.
The first time I tried to catch Mora in December took forty five minutes. I had taken the other horses out of the large 20’ x 20’ stall they were in so it was just me and her. She definitely knew how to hide behind other horses and stay away from people. After using my limited knowledge of horse training (I’d only owned Dusty for just over two years) I finally remembered how Clinton Anderson had said to be “big” and got Mora to stand still long enough to get a halter on her. Once her halter was on she walked next to me pretty well in the stall. We stayed in the stall for the next week or so before we moved to grooming.
Catching Mora in her stall was pretty easy once I switched her to a smaller 10x 20 stall. She did turn her butt to me the first couple of times I went in to clean or halter her, but all I did was shove her off balance and she turned right around to face me. I actually took this as a good sign. She never lifted a leg to strike at me, so I really have no clue why the other owners thought they had to beat her. Unfortunately, I didn’t know Mora liked to roll in her stall. She turned up a bit lame twice and I asked Julie if I could move her to a wider stall. I thought she might be casting herself in the less wide stall. And apparently she was casting herself as she didn’t come up lame after she was moved.
Saddling . . . where to start. Mora hated/hates it. The first three hundred times I saddled her she ducked out from under the saddle. So off and on the saddle went without even tightening the girth. She still tenses up when I swing her saddle up, but she stands now without quite jumping out of her skin.
You would think that bridling would be a problem with how bad Mora was with the saddle, but she opened her mouth and accepted the bit without any questions. Yay! I was using Dusty’s copper snaffle bit and she didn’t seem to hate it at all.