The June Open House is in full swing. The forecast said rain, but the weather has held for the event, allowing our tour groups to meander leisurely around the property without worry of whether or not they remembered to re-waterproof their raincoats. At paddock #17, a smaller group has congregated – here for the open house, yes, but also to visit with a particular resident: Tiva. These are the people who brought Tiva to SAFE, who reached out to us to get her the help she needed when the situation seemed dire. They recount how scared and nervous she was as they stand around petting her face and neck and giving scratches to her withers. Tiva hears the crinkle of a half-eaten dorito bag in their hands and gives her best attempt to shake them down with her nose (she has never eaten a Dorito in her life, not sure where this desire for nacho cheese originated from). They pull away from the visit just as another tour group approaches. Tiva is kind enough to play ambassador to them as well, accepting even more pets on the face and neck. Her kindness abounds – this group doesn’t even have any Doritos they might give her.

Last farrier day, the mere sight of the hoofjack stand sent Tiva into a snorting spiral. Having to rest her hoof on it for more than a moment was a rather big ask. So in the six weeks between that appointment and her next, it became a goal to befriend Tiva to the hoofjack, ensuring the happiness of farriers and this horse forever more. Did you know, Tiva, that if you are to rest your hoof on this ergonomically-attuned cradle, built for this very purpose, you will receive many scratches on the wither (front hooves) or rump (hind hooves)? If she didn’t know before, she quickly learned, in a real ‘I’ll scratch your back, you keep your hoof here’ type of scenario. Her next farrier appointment can’t come soon enough!

A song about Tiva going over trot poles and a single cavaletti (set to the tune of Dancing Queen by ABBA):

Friday night and the lights are on (in the arena)
Looking out for some poles to trot
Space ‘em with the right distance
Elevate the back
That round was so dang clean

Every horse can trot the poles
Going ‘round to the left and riiiiiight
Then we add a caveletti
What will you do?
You’re gonna jump that thing

And when you hit your stride
You are the jumping queen
Young and sweet
Only just thirteen

Jumping queen
Set on back and clear that thing
Oh yeah!

You can jump
You can trot
Having the time of your life
Oooooh, see that mare
Watch that scene
She is the jumping queen

A chestnut mare is good for many things, one being looking clean while managing to harbor a frankly obscene amount of dirt. Each pass of a brush across Tiva’s rump disturbs the ecosystem she has been working so hard to cultivate, and yet the amount of brushing does not seem directly correlated to the amount of dirt that is displaced. Like one of those trick scarves, the dust just keeps coming and coming until she could pass for Charles Schultz’s Pigpen. Finally, two sore arms later, she is clean enough for a saddle, and we can get to work.

Turning her out in her paddock following the session, her order of operations is thus: drink water, check for food, have a roll. And so begins the cycle again.