Tigger’s Progress

Posted: September 13th, 2019 under Life beyond writing.

Tigger is revealing himself to be smart, alert, interested in communicating and gaining facility in that, and athletic.  We have passed some critical milestones.  About a week after the previous post, my then vet became my former vet, and I went back to some vets I’d had before.  Tigger has now had his first full-on visit to that vet clinic, where everything went very well indeed, and things said by former vet became more obviously false.  Tigger has continued to mellow, but mellow-for-him, not what everyone would call mellow.  The big vet visit turned up the reason for his bitting difficulty…an injury to his tongue that’s left a transverse groove (probably actually a scar) across his tongue.  So for the present, he’ll be retrained to go bitless.   In the meantime, he’s stretched his neck a lot, and is less likely, even when excited, to suck it back and imitate a giraffe with it.  He’s fed at ground level, even though it means wasted hay, is outside grazing a lot, etc.  He is trusting us more, comfortable with the routine, though still not fond of being brushed.  We’re doing some desensitization by a slower process than many trainers, because I have the time…no rush to get him “finished.” If you want to read about the current challenges, they’re detailed on my FaceBook posts.

Pictures follow:

Relaxed and moving forward in a disunited canter…better use of his neck and back

But in the presence of something scary…the head’s higher and the tail stiffly upright, the gallop 4-beat but correct in form

And in the suspension phase those hooves are *really* off the ground

He’s a lot of fun and takes up quite a bit of my time.  It will be well into October before I can expect to get on him.  I’ve ridden completely trained horses in a halter and shank but he’s going to be a challenge.  The Marrakai horses in Paksworld were not modeled after pure Arabians but they were modeled after part-Arabs.  They do look something like this but with a bit more bone.


  • Comment by Eloise — September 14, 2019 @ 9:45 am


    You might want to try a Porta Grazer. I bought several a couple of years ago for my boarding facility and we love them. It keeps the hay off the ground (and in fact sifts dirt out of the hay), eliminates wasted hay, requires horses to reach down, for feed, requires them to use their front teeth in a grazing manner and doubles as a horse toy. The barrels are really, really tough. They are also kind of expensive, but totally worth it.

  • Comment by Eloise — September 14, 2019 @ 9:46 am


  • Comment by Moira — September 15, 2019 @ 10:43 pm


    Lovely pics! He’s looking great, especially in the first pic where the sun catches his coat & makes it glow. (Pardon the non-horse-person cluelessness – he’s a purty hoss.) Worthy of a paladin’s mount.

    Also great to hear from you, Elizabeth, and I hope all is going well and you’re taking as good care of yourself as of Tigger & everyone else!

    Also hope it’s cooling off there – it’s been so unseasonably cold here in the UK (with occasional warm-to-hot spells just to keep us honest/confused) that I’m already wearing sweaters and draping a fuzzy blanket round my shoulders while reading! But no such thing as climate change, no sirree… *zip it*

  • Comment by Terry Ann Frick — September 18, 2019 @ 7:10 am


    For both of you, I’m glad to hear that Tigger is coming along. Beautiful head, and nice topline in the first pic. Looks like poll flexion will be easy for him once he knows he can be asked for it without tongue pain.

    Understand what you mean about the vet, and farriers are a similar problem.

    Because you said they are double-backed and easy gaited, I always thought the Marrakai horses were modeled after the Iberian breeds, especially the Lusitanos and perhaps the Pasos, but maybe you were thinking something like an Arab-Barb cross.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 22, 2019 @ 10:29 am


    Terry Ann: The Marrakai horses were based on two different part-Arabs and extrapolation from them…my half-Arab, half-Saddlebred, who was also the “model” for Paks’s paladin horse, and the 3/4 Arab 1/4 Appaloosa who gave me my second concussion and whom I did not buy because I realized the mother of an autistic toddler could not afford to be knocked out by her horse and unable to care for the kid. (But he was a gorgeous guy and I’m sure I’d have had a lot of fun with him…) But there are no Arabians on Paksworld, so the Marrakai horses have some of the same characteristics without being drop-dead gorgeous. Arab/Barb, Arab/Turkish or Persian maybe, even Anglo-Arab from hunter, not racing, TB lines. Marrakai horses aren’t as heavy in the hindquarter as some Arab/QH crosses. OTOH, since I wrote the books, I’ve become aware of people breeding Arabians for sport-horse use. Take a look at Faerie Court Farm’s Oberons Vanity, and their other stock. Sport horse breeders are interested in soundness, performance, trainability, and not in the extreme fashion look that crops up in most breeds, to their detriment. Any physical characteristic can be overdone. The Marrakai horses average 15-16 hands, with outliers down to 14.2 and up to 16.1; the Marrakai cull for what they consider good riding size.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 22, 2019 @ 10:30 am


    Thanks. It may go on the list for later…not right now, though.

  • Comment by elizabeth — September 22, 2019 @ 10:32 am


    Thanks Moira. I’ve had an off few days, but sleeping till almost 11 seems to have revived the energy a bit. The days are cooling very slightly but the evenings are substantially cooler than a month ago, when we had afternoon heat peaking around 5-6 pm and then very slowly tapering off. Now, by 5 the worst is over.

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