Monday, August 1, 2011

Happy Adoptions Mora's Story Part 2 Challenge Painting #160

Mora’s Story Part 2 
By Beth Cook
"Mora Restored"
5 by 7 Watercoor
How can you train a horse and not give them positive reinforcement from their back?”  Was I mad at Mora for throwing me, no.  But she’s since learned that pats on her neck are good and positive.  Granted, at that point she wasn’t easy to catch in an area she could run away from people in.  So I went and got Dusty, who amazingly she had become best buddies with within a short time, and I used Dusty to lure her close enough to catch her reins.  Cantering would take another six months for her to even think about doing.
Trailer loading was something we had to work on as I had been offered another teaching job on the Navajo reservation in Arizona and that meant relocating.  Let’s just say that is something she’s never going to be good at and leave it there.  We have a system and it works for us, but it’s not what anyone would call pretty.  It’s not exactly winching her in, but it’s close.  Actually she’s better now, once she gets her front feet in the second time, she will normally go the rest of the way in without a fight.  I’m sure she was only put in a trailer when she was sold from owner to owner and never taught how to load nicely.
As we were moving I figured I should probably see if I was even allowed to own her and I called BLM.  Amazingly I had read her freezemark pretty accurately.  The lady I spoke to was able to come up with her papers within fifteen minutes of me calling.  Note to BLM:  When a horse has a thin white stripe right where you would normally put the freezemark, move it down half an inch!  I had to literally shave Mora bald in order to read her freezemark.  I didn’t know at that time about HMA’s so all I know is she is from Nevada, was two when she was rounded up in 1997.
Fast forward to April 2010.  Mora and I were out on a ride and she bolted.  Now I’m used to her cantering, but I hadn’t asked for it.  She stuck her mouth straight up in the air and there was nothing I could do to get her head back down.  Nor would she turn, nor would she slow down.  Well, until we hit the mud puddle, and then she only slowed down to a trot.  It was almost a mile before I could get her stopped and got off.  I had ridden it out, but I wasn’t about to get back on her with my legs and arms being jelly.  I actually had a vet appointment for her and Dusty four days later, so I figured I would ask the vet about this bolting thing then.
So four days later we loaded up, with Mora’s normal tantrum, and headed off.  Mora had lost weight over the winter and that was what the appointment was for, to try and rule out any physical causes.  As I had no idea when Mora’s teeth were last floated and that was one of the things she had done.  When her mouth was opened the vet tech said, “Wow!  That’s a huge scar across her tongue.”  Needless to say I asked for clarification.  Mora’s tongue was almost severed in half it seems as the scar goes all the way across.  I can only surmise that at some point someone had a harsh bit and a heavy hand and thought that would cure her of her issues.  Instead, she learned how to throw her head and avoid the bit entirely making her even more dangerous for the next person.
From everything I can guess at I would say Mora has never spent more than a year or so with any one owner.  They all bought her because she’s beautiful and thought there was a quick fix for what issues she had.  Unfortunately no one ever solved any of her issues and just added more before selling her to the next owner.
The flipside of all her issues is, one look and you can tell she wants to be a good horse.  If she does something wrong now, she turns and faces me and says she’s sorry with her head down.  In the last two weeks she’s started seeking me out from time to time so I can give her kisses and hugs.  And she’s letting other people give her pets without being caught and haltered.  She may or may not let me walk up to her in the arena or pasture still, but at least she’s not bolting away if I get too close, she just walks away.  She has her forever home with me and I think after two and a half years with me, she’s finally learning to trust that I’m not going to get rid of her any time soon.  And I will work through her issues as they arise.  I know I don’t know everything to help her, but I’m willing to ask whatever questions I need to and learn what I can to make her as happy as possible.

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