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Miss Teak
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Miss Teak was a pure-bred chestnut Crabbet Park Arab mare. See her pedigree below for more details of her breeding. The following picture shows her behind Shalima, barely recognizable. The rump on the left must be Talqah Seren.
Image title: MissTeak and Shalima
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Miss Teak's history

We bought Miss Teak along with Shalima from a person who shall remain nameless. He had split up with his wife, and for some reason he had kept the horses. He obviously had neither inclination nor ability in this area.

In the beginning, Miss Teak was a real little bitch. She had obviously been mistreated—she was afraid when people approached her—but on the other hand, she had learnt to defend herself violently. Early on, she reacted so violently towards the farrier that she nearly killed herself trying to get away.

In the course of time, things got better. Nevertheless, we had a great deal of difficulty with her. Yvonne, who is normally successful with every horse she has been involved, felt so threatened by her that she decided she wanted to give up with her—a first for Yvonne. She sent a message to the horsemanship list asking for advice. One of the biggest issues she mentioned was that she would occasionally pull back when she didn't want to do something, and that Yvonne couldn't control her when she did so.

The replies ranged from the sensible via the emotional (“You can't get rid of that poor horse. It will end up being destroyed”) to the occasional flame. As a result, I got involved, and agreed to spend some time working her to see if we could get her to give up her behaviour. One result is this web page to keep people informed of her progress.

The mail messages

I kept a large number of mail messages about Miss Teak, but despite my promise to make them available here as soon as I could find a convenient way to do it, I didn't manage it for over 23 years

Bringing up Miss Teak

This section was never completed.

22 January 1998

I worked Miss Teak in a pen divided into two by a thin tape. Yvonne was working Shalima on the other side of the tape. She was quite calm, and we did the PNH friendly game and the porcupine game. I also tried taking her over obstacles (fallen tree branch), and at one point Yvonne lifted the tape about 2½ metres over the ground, and I was able to persuade Miss Teak to come beneath it to the other side.

She wasn't exactly a model of calmness, and she shook her head a lot when she didn't want to do something, but she never tried to pull back from me.

Total time: about 25 minutes.

23 January 1998

Today I took Miss Teak out by herself without Shalima, and without any of the horses in sight. She was much less calm than on the previous day, of course, and I was not able to do anything much with her except the friendly game. I wasn't able to lift her hind legs: as soon as I left the front, she started to walk off. Rather than to try what would obviously be a failure, I spent the time keeping her to stand still and follow my movements. After a while I had her at the stage where she would stand still by my side, with the rope hanging down, for over a minute at a time. To reinforce that, I used a carrot stick with an empty plastic bag, which I shook if she started to move. After a while she no longer needed the bag. I'm pretty sure that she understood the constraints under which she was. If I had let go the rope, I think she would have walked off. Before I do too much more, though, I want to get her to the stage where she'll stay beside me without the rope.

The week of 26 January 1998

I worked Miss Teak a couple of times, concentrating on getting her to stand still. I found that she would understand that if I left the rope dangle, she would understand that she should not walk off, not quite the same thing as not walking off. The intention was to get her to stand still when I approached her hind quarters to lift her rear hooves (in Parelli's way, both from the same side).

Miss Teak wasn't overly keen on the idea of standing still, but with the aid of a plastic bag on the end of a crop, I was able to make it clear to her that she should stay where she was, and after a while she was prepared to stand still for a couple of minutes at a time.

Unfortunately, I still couldn't get her to lift her rear legs. I wasn't 100% sure how to do this, so I put it off until Steve Halfpenny's visit on Sunday, 1 February.

I also walked her around the house a bit. She seemed genuinely frightened (not like my old mare Nur al-Dahr, who would pretend to be frightened to get people to leave her alone. Hopefully she'll get more used to seeing things she's not expecting.

1 February 1998

Steve Halfpenny came to have a look at what I had been doing. He wasn't as delighted as I had hoped. He decided I wasn't asking enough of her. In addition, he considered the idea of getting her to stand still the wrong approach: after all, horses stand still a lot, and it's a thing she can get used to easily. Instead, he said that if she moved away, I should emphasize it, and keep her moving faster and faster until she decided that wasn't what she wanted after all.

We did that for a while, and finally she slowed down enough to let me approach her hind legs. That didn't mean that she was prepared to lift her legs, though. When I pinched her hock, she kicked out and nearly hit Steve. After that he worked her for a while, significantly harder than I would have done, and at the end she was prepared to give her legs. Looks like I'm in for a bit of fireworks before she agrees to everything, but Steve reckons that she should be OK within a month.

The end of Miss Teak

Alas, Miss Teak is no longer with us. On 26 December 2000 she broke her leg and had to be shot. Here are the photos, if you can stand it. Be warned, they're shocking.


When we got Miss Teak, we had thought that since she was so dainty, she might suit our daughter Yana. Yana didn't like the name, so we changed her name to Carmina to sound more like that of Shalima. Since then, we decided that she wasn't the right horse for Yana, and after she started to improve, we changed the name back again. Here's her pedigree:

Name Amzar Miss Teak
Registration number F 17360
Date of birth 25 November 1991
Colour Chestnut
Strain Kehaileh Dajanieh
Brand Lazy S, 89 2 over 1
El Shafie
Lyrian Lyric Lyrian Lightning Figaro Delos
Oxford Sunbeam Crystal Fire
Cyrene Mikwas Electric Silver
Riffalka Riffal
Carol J Figaro Delos Spindrift
Bithynia Razaz
Cyrene Mikwas Electric Silver
Riffalka Riffal
Masafi Peace
Masafi Pacis Ralvon Progress Rikham Rissam
Trix Silver Royal Domino
Masafi Moonet Prophet Abiram
Trix Silver
Moonamet Silver Moonlight
Masafi Al-lallah Ralvon Progress Rikham Rissam
Trix Silver Royal Domino
Leila Sirhan Rashid II
Khalas Riffal

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