Thursday, December 27, 2007

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - The Third Foal Crop Part 9

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

The Third Foal Crop Part 1

The real problems with the young Arabian horse didn't show themselves until it was time to teach him to lead. Putting the halter on had been a piece of cake next to getting the colt to take a step forward. Scandalous Rhythm was convinced that he didn't want to go anywhere I was inclined to take him.

When I clucked to him and took a step forward, the colt planted his feet like he knew exactly what I was asking and he had no intentions of going along with that request. Boy I wish I had had Harvey Jacobs around then. Even John Lyons "Leading and Loading" tape playing in my head was no help in getting this nearly newborn foal to take a step forward.

Thinking back to those days, I still want to play it over in my head. I keep trying to figure out what I missed or what I did wrong that I couldn't get this colt to co-operate. I don't know if I missed the signs of him wanting to try or they never came. All I know for sure is that he didn't move.

The colt just plain didn't want to go forward. Pulling him off balance to one side or the other to get him to move a foot didn't help either. I was really stumped and frustrated. Tapping the colt from behind just wasn't working, he just tuned me out. Eventually I ended up doing a lot more than tapping and that was working much either.

I totally understood John Lyons words (and later those of other well known trainers as well) that you can't train a horse that won't move. Movement is the key to everything. Rhythm had no intention of moving anything and I finally just used all of my muscle and pulled him off of his feet.

The young horse's response was to come after me. It totally caught me off guard. But John Lyons played in my head, any act of aggression must be met with no hold barred for five seconds and I unloaded on that poor colt.

Rhythm fought back and it ended up in a knock down drag out fight that I will never forget. Before it was over both of us were a sweaty steaming mess but the horse was no longer kicking or striking or biting or rearing for that matter AND I finally had the first stages of leading. It had taken me forty long minutes to get two steps out of this colt and a whole lot of stuff I didn't even want to think about again.

I remember going into the house and crying my eyes out. I was so upset. There had to be a better way. There was no way this is how I wanted to be dealing with my young horses, "a foal, no less", kept running through my mind. How could a foal be so darn aggressive? And yet Dave. Lindsay, Colleen and Rachel all loved this colt and had no problems with him. I just didn't know what I was going to do.

The next day leading the colt wasn't much better. It didn't last nearly as long but it got just as aggressive. It was clear that Rhythm hadn't given up on the idea of being in charge. Again I went to the house afterwards and cried my eyes out!

It was probably a week before Rhythm was finally leading. From that day on, the colt led just fine but it was clear he was afraid of me.

I didn't have any problems with the other colts or with the filly, Hope. Each of them were so easy, it made me feel like I lived in two different worlds, one with Rhythm and another with the rest of my horses.

Besides not want to "turn it over" to training Rhythm also showed other stud like behavior. At a week old he was talking low to the mares and dropping. If they were in heat, he was even trying to mount them. Oh, yes, there was one other thing..........his testicles were huge!

There was never any doubt that I had my hands full with this colt. I knew from the start I was going to pay for any time off from his training. Daily re enforcement was the only way I was ever going to stay ahead of this game.

While all of this was going on, I still was dealing with the horses at work. There I was dealing with a rank stallion. He was a constant reminder of why I didn't want to let things get out of hand with this red colt of mine.

Eric set up a photo shoot with Jeff and Mary Little. I decided that it would be a good chance for me to get pictures of these four new Legs' babies. So I signed them up for pictures as well.

The hard part was going to be getting all of the bathing and clipping done in time for the pictures. I had a total of four training horses that were having pictures and my eight horses (four mares and four foals). I was going to transport my mares and foals over to the training facility the night before. I could do my clipping and bathing there that evening and in the morning we could start shooting pictures as soon as the photographer arrived. This was going to be some kind of adventure...........

To be continued.............

Part 10

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  1. Gosh I can understand the tears. What a tough wee beastie. Still a stunner though.

  2. Gosh he really does sound like Taxes, I have a feeling that I am going to have big problems on my hands, especially since his owner is so inexperienced himself. I am wondering if I am going to have to get someone a lot stronger than me because he is just too big and I can't afford to get hurt. I know Stan would take him on for a bit so I might have to go that route. I can't clean his stable with him in it because he wants to bite me and play with me all the time and strike and rear, playing but not acceptable for his size. Cute when he wa smaller but not so cute now that he is nearly 15 hands.

    Looking forward to the next story on the photo session.

    I am having a bad day, our neighbor has started his nonsense again and I am feeling threatened when I am outside and he uses opportunities when I am on my own to confront me. Looong story.



  3. Wow, I have never heard of foals as young as Scandalous Rhythm showing such studly behaviors!!!

    Its a good thing you handled him like you did....a bad mannered stud is no fun at all.

    I once had a foal try to kick, paw, rear, stomp, anything he could do to make me stop getting him to lead. His little butt was a handful, I could not have imagined it if he were 100 pounds bigger! I took a hoof to the arm, those little suckers are sharp. Needless to say, he had a hard lesson on who was in charge that day. He turned into a great horse who loves was worth it. I shudder to think of what he might have become had I not stuck thru his training.

    Rhythm is a great horse because of you!

  4. those horses are beautiful....I enjoyed reading this post.

  5. Rhythm sounds like quite a handful! I've only had one mama horse and baby before. It has been too long ago for me to remember how I halter broke the baby. But if he had been like your foal, I'm sure I wouldn't have forgotten that. I would not have known what to do in your shoes.

    In the pictures of Rhythm playing in the snow, he is gorgeous!!!

    Can't wait to read your next post to see how you worked through things with Rhythm.