I met Tika during my first winter on the island, in 2008 at Honora Bay Rididng Stable. Although, I've never been a die-hard fan of Paints, he stole my heart in no time at all. He was curious, affectionate, a bit of a goof... and easily frightened or spooked. A year and a half later, I brought him home as a coming 7-year old.
We weren't an ideal match as partners. We both lacked confidence. His first response to anything remotely unfamiliar was sheer panic. My response to his panic was fear. But, we stuck it out together and I cannot imagine my life without him now.
Grrrumble. Darling Tika has decided that mom should not have a life outside of the homestead. Whenever I go away for a day/night he buggers out and forces my house/dog/cat/horse sitter to turn animal wrangler.
Admittedly, the fencing situation isn't perfect here (yet) but, he doesn't pull that crap when I'm home. Thankfully, Willie has no interest in off-road adventures ad stays put.
Good thing he's cute. And, doesn't fit on the bbq.
Tika - formerly known as Atlas - originally named Quanah
Funny story... this whole name changing bit.
When I brought Tika home, his name was Atlas. I didn't really like the name; I liked it even less once I looked into the etymology of the name. Commonly associated with the Greek God Atlas, or 'Bearer of the Heavens', it is also derived from meanings such as 'to endure, to suffer, to bear'.
What I really wanted for him was a name he could aspire to. Because of his Paint heritage, I was looking for a Native American name. I first looked only at Comanche and Apache names, as these were the first tribes documented to have worked with and bred the Paint horse. I did consider his original name Quanah - which is, in fact, Comanche, and means 'fragrant' or 'fragrance'. I was told that his name was a combination of his parents' names. Hm. Not quite what I was looking for.
What a difference a year 6 years make! My lovely, but flighty boy Tika is growing up, at last. I can't even begin to describe the differences in that beautiful horse. And, I cannot possibly put into words how hugely proud I am of him.
A couple of months ago, we attended a 'bomb proofing' clinic. Whew. If he had done half of what he did, I would have been happy. But, he completely blew me away. One needs to remember, that this was a horse who would jump at the slightest noise, BOLT on a trail ride because there was a bucket (musta been the horse eating kind) left by the side of the trail, a horse that would try to climb walls in a stall to escape, a horse that scared the living daylight out of me at times.
At this clinic, he walked past, and then over balloons. He merely flinched when the horse in front of us popped one. He walked over tarps and mattresses. He walked through a pile of plastic bottles. He walked next to a person, first carrying an umbrella, then a Canadian flag. He then trusted me enough to carry first the umbella, then the flag from the saddle.
This post should probably go into Life with Horses... but, horsemanship saved my relationship with Tika. It quite possibly saved both our lives.
I don't even know where to begin. After the 'devil horse', I was scared. I still loved horse, yes. But, in all honesty... I was scared sh*tless. And, out of fear, out of a need for self preservation, I made mistake after mistake. It's all so clear now... what I once viewed as unpredictable behavior (of my horses) was in fact totally predictable.
It was April 2012. Exactly one week after our lovely mare Sophie had passed away. I was heart broken. I was angry with Tika. I suspected that he had had something to do with the events that occurred prior to her injuries. I was tempted to call off going to Barrie to participate in a clinic with Chris Irwin. But, in the end, I loaded up Tika and went anyways. The trip down was, although eventful in many ways, smooth as far as the horses were concerned.