Tuesday 5 August 2014

Kika Chiquita - The Character

I haven't shared a Kika-centric post since Nancy's arrival; and rightly so - yet Miss K is most definitely still true to herself & regularly gets up to her quirky character driven tricks.
If you would like to hear about them on a more condensed basis, I could potentially make this type of post a "thing" and update it once a month or every couple of months depending how quirky she is at any given time...
The following recent activities have spawned the potential birth of this feature.

Video I - beginning trot work

(1) Her first misdemeanor to spawn this post was accidentally cow-kicking me when stomping at flies in the cross ties. This was a complete accident as she has never been a moody mare nor lashed out at me. Bar the ill fitting saddle issue back in 2010-2011 when she was quite grouchy because I was failing to see the issue, but she still never lashed out at me.
Horses really are such noble creatures aren't they?

Video II - Kika doing her best steam train impression as puffs along, 
I think it is to do with her lack of fitness - but if anyone can enlighten me, please do!

(2) Her second bout of Kika'ism conduct came about as I brought both girls in from the field on my day off a few weeks back (the day I had hoped to have my first lesson with the new trainer).
As they are turned out just the two of them together I bring them both in when I want to ride so that one isn't left alone outside screeching & hollering suffering from abandonment issues. To get the pair of them in from their summer turnout, we have to walk along a stretch of road which is a normal street and used by cars etc. Nancy typically walks at my shoulder and Kika plods along slightly behind us (rubbing her head off Nancy to keep flies from tormenting her - while Nancy & I are harassed - another typical Kika'ism, looks out for numero uno primero) all of us remaining on the footpath.

Video III - our trot work is getting better but still carrying quite a bit of tension and she is still not stretching her stride, preferring to take short choppy steps ... although in saying that, this IS better than it used to be. Baby steps and one day i might get there with her!

This particular day a truck came towards us which Kika took a dislike to and stopped to stare at it for a second - the problem with this is that she is behind me, so pulled my left arm back slightly - Nancy doesn't stop as quickly as K does - think articulated lorry or train, these things take time to slow to a stop. By the time I got Nancy stopped, Kika had decided she definitely couldn't be doing with the scary truck coming towards her a second longer, turned tail and pulled the lead rope out of my hand (hello - rope burn), turned tail and trotted back the way we had just come. This unsettled Nancy who spun to follow her but I still had a hold of - THANKFULLY there is a patch of grass, an unenclosed field (I don't know who it belongs to) where Kika stopped there, eyeballed the truck for another second, snorted at it then dropped her head to eat waiting for Nancy (almost prancing in her excitement - honestly talk about chalk & cheese these two :) ) and I to get back to her.
We stood there (no more eating for Kika) till the terrifying truck had passed and then continued on our way with my hand in bits from the rope burn on my middle & ring finger of my left hand. I did still manage to ride both and then lathered my fingers in Vaseline before making my way home - yay for smartphones with internet access so that I could look up how to soother rope burn.
As an aside, they went back out to the field no problem after this adventure and have come in every time since without issue.

Video IV - first canter video, she sure has a lot to say for herself ... perfect for this post as she shows off all her Kika glory & mannerisms as she converses with me while we work ;-)

(3) The weekend after the above incident, their old buddy O (The Guru's mare) was returned to their field for Friday & Saturday night before she returned to the off-site turnout they had all shared in may & June. Which meant that I could bring one of my girls in at a time & leave the other one in O's company. I must just highlight to readers, at this point that O, screeches and hollers something atrocious when either of my girls leaves the field. But most notably if Kika leaves her - she is almost distraut. Which is odd because I wouldn't say Kika is always nice to her - "treat them mean keep them keen" might be K's motto, she sure has done a number on me in any case :p
Anyway, Kika leaving the field is no problem, being tied in cross ties & ridden at the yard across the street was of no issue to K (last year she had hollered back a few times - but not a peep this year from the yard - she have enjoyed some Nancy-free time with me, or maybe I'm grasping at straws and projecting human emotions & feelings onto animals whose minds don't work at all in that way *blush* )

Video V - sorry not great, next time I'll show my mama 
how to use the zoom when videoing on my phone.
I'm not sure if you can see her I-want-to-canter head toss 
on the circle as we approach the other side of the arena

Going back to the field was another story for Miss Kika, who made half-hearted attempts to squeal in my ear - but knew she wasn't allowed so she'd start to screech, but when I'd look at her she'd choke them off. She also wanted to prance back to the field as quickly as she could, but again knew she couldn't so tried to contain herself to a walk - with her neck all arched as she really struggled to rein herself in. However it all became too much for her (read:an-excuse-presented-itself) when a car passed a little faster than I'd have ideally liked and she grabbed the opportunity to have a little hop & call loudly for a second - to reassure her mad mare-friend that she was on her way back.
She is such a cheeky cow as she knew she wasn't allowed and mellowed immediately after she had her moment of rebelliousness to walk calmly the rest of the way to the field.
Well I say walk calmly, she strided - a proper ground covering stride, the like of which she generally feigns inability to do - as she never strides, normally she prefers to dawdle behind Nancy or generally just plod along on a lead or under saddle.

Video VI - some left lead canter to round out the videos for the weekend as the mama was distracted by people chatting to her while I finished our workout without footage for comparison. I am not complaining, I am so glad to have this early spin footage to see what i am doing wrong from the beginning :)

So those are some of Kika's kika'isms to regale you as i shared the video footage my mama caught of our spin on Sunday.
Hopefully you don't think me a horribly un-careful owner, allowing myself get caught by her hind leg and letting her get loose as we walk from field. These are once-off, I hope, incidents although never say never again or anything concrete when it comes to horses as they love nothing more than proving us wrong.
Kika is a character and has much more spunk & curiosity then easy-going Nancy. K has always got this glint in her eye that you have to watch out for as she is always up to something and looking for some sort of mischief or other to keep herself amused. Remind me next time to tell you how she goes around in the walker! I'll have to try and catch a video or photo of it - she is unique!

Take-away points from these videos:
- my heels are worse on Kika then Nancy - I wonder is that to do with riding in shorter stirrups in my GP or the fact that I nag K to keep moving whereas for some reason I know Nancy will...must do more closer inspection of what i be at when riding this evening.
- I need to really get after her to work for me, i let myself get suckered into "conversations" with her rather than just pushing her that little bit harder to do what i am asking of her.
- I also need to ride for myself and forget about worrying where others are in the arena or what they are doing or trying to keep out of their way. I have as much right to be there & ride my way as anyone, i need a bit more self-belief & confidence in myself...story of my life that!

I've just realised that this post paint K in quite a naughty light, she really isn't bad nor dangerous at all - just mischievous and windy (as in a scardy-cat). So sometimes her reactions to things that frighten her cause her to disengage her brain, but she does trust me and will come around when i talk her down off the ledge. Really she is just miles too smart for me, and likes to keep me on my toes. I'll have to keep better track of the funny things she gets up to - and hope that my tales of KikaChiquita don't make me look like the totally neglectful & incapable horse owner i feel like this post has *blush*

PS: Apologies that the video quality is poorer on these than the Nancy ones i shared yesterday. Same phone videoed both from the same position, but outside factors had changed. As I mentioned in yesterdays post, a storm was brewing and the natural light that had helped in Nancy's videos was well gone by Kika's turn.


  1. I love your Kika. Her attitude and everything. :)

    I would absolutely not call you an incompetent or bad owner!! Those smart horses have a way of making us look like idiots, right?

    I've noticed that I can't keep my leg position if I'm constantly nagging my horse for forward (which is most of the time. Ugh. I own Monsignor LazyButt.). My trainer has had me relax my legs and stop clamping them on and squeezing forward, instead bumping for forward (or outright taking my legs off and slapping his sides for forward ... Whatever it takes). She says this keeps me from tightening my legs and taking my seat off the horse. So far, she's totally right.

    1. I am trying to train myself to squeeze with my calves, it's a slow process - fingers crossed it get out of the heel nagging habit sooner rather than later.

      I am glad it doesn't come across as neglectful or dangerous owner, i was worried once i posted that our recent adventures paint us in a bad light.

  2. Did you name Kika? Because her name is fabulous!

    1. I did name Kika, I bought her as an unnamed 3 yr old from her breeder.
      I had just finished 6 months study abroad in Spain for uni. Came across the male version of the name (Kiko) and liked it as a potential animal name. I like names short & snappy. I had planned to buy a gelding, but that Kika is not, in fact she was everything I wasn't looking for but as they say in French I had a "coup de foudre" (lightning strike literal translation or fell in love with more colloquial definition) so that 3 yr old was purchased and named by me.
      I don't regret my choice for a minute; despite all our downs & ups ☺


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