Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Baby Boomer Dreams of Arabian Horses - Rhythm's Story - The Park

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

Rhythm's Story starts here

The park is only about five minutes away from my farm, so the Arabian horse didn't really have much time to be naughty in the horse trailer. He talked a bit when we first pulled into the park but that was about it. I was beginning to think that Rhythm really was not going to co-operate with me and show these young women the other side of his personality. He was definitely doing a great job of displaying how sweet he can be when he wants.

Once I tied the horse to the trailer to saddle him, he began to show a little bit of his bad behavior. He was fidgety about being groomed, particularly under his belly. The horse acted like he was going to lay down at one point before he'd tolerate a brush on his underside. As I tried to brush out that thick long mane of his, he kept trying to eat the brush. If he couldn't reach it easily, grabbing my sleeve was good.

Instead of standing quietly as I tried to get him tacked up, the horse swung back and forth moving away from me. If I remember correctly he may have even dumped the saddle pads onto the ground before I could get the saddle in place. As frustrating as it is to deal with a horse like that, I was glad to see it. At least they were getting some idea of what the horse was like when he's not worked on a regular basis.

When the horse was finally saddled, I took him into the smaller pen and tied him around with his head cocked slightly to the inside. Then I turned the horse loose to free lunge that way. Usually when I know Rhythm's going to be naughty, this is how I start out. I let the horse fight with himself instead of fighting with me, which is exactly what he did.

Rhythm was immediately p*ssed. He flew off to the far corner in a bucking and kicking rage. It was nothing I hadn't expected and I laughed at his antics. With the lunge whip in my hand, I followed the horse over and directed him back towards the center of the arena.

The horse reluctantly went where he was pushed and began working a circle around me. Fighting the bit he raced around like the devil was after him. Leaping and lunging, bucking and kicking, looking more like a rodeo bronc that a horse you'd want to ride. I stopped the horse and brought him to the rail. Taking off the saddle, I check the pad and then resaddled the horse.

The whole time I was explaining to both women what I was doing. While Rhythm is known to be naughty, this wasn't the usual bad behavior. The horse had only behaved like this once before and he'd actually bucked when I rode him. But I'd immediately gotten off and resaddled the horse. After that the horse had been fine, just like nothing had ever happened.

The I explained to them what I would usually expect to see as I sent the horse back off to free lunge. This time Rhythm looked more like the horse I knew, maybe the naughty one but not the furious one we'd just previously seen. Now he was racing around and fighting the bit but that was pretty much the extent of his display.

I assured them it wouldn't take long. The horse would submit and drop down into a true western lope and really show us what he knew.I think the words were no sooner out of my mouth and Rhythm dropped down in the prettiest western lope you could ever want. The women glanced at each other with bright eyes and bright smiles. Rhythm's behavior had not intimidated them.

I quickly stopped the horse and sent him off in the other direction rewarding him for his compliance. This time the horse only protested briefly before he dropped down into that beautiful lope. I don't think I free lunged the horse a total of five minutes including all of the temper tantrum and saddle adjusting. Rhythm might have attitude but the horse knows what he's supposed to do in the end. He just has to have his little demonstration to prove his point, the horse needs to work on a regular basis if you want him to behave.

Just in case you're wondering, I would never put someone on a horse that I didn't ride first. If I'm selling a horse that's supposed to be broke, I think it's only right that I show them how broke. Also I would never put a person on a horse if I didn't think the horse would be safe to ride.

I think the rule of thumb should be not to ride a strange horse if you haven't seen it be ridden. Of course, there are exceptions to that like owners who don't ride but have horses with show records. But on the whole I think it's a good idea to see the horse be ridden. I have met people who've broken bones riding a horse they were told was broke.

So now it was time for me to get on Rhythm. I already knew he wasn't going to stand still for me to mount. Just adjusting the cinch and checking my stirrups, the horse was squirrelling around being evasive. I'd already told both women the horse probably wouldn't stand for me. That mustn't have dissuaded either of them at all, they both offered to hold onto him so that I could climb aboard. The whole time I'm telling them, just as soon as I throw my leg over the horse will go right to work.

So I managed to climb in the saddle but my biggest problem was getting my foot even into the stirrup. This old body of mine protested not having ridden as well. Getting on was NOT a pretty picture. Someone with a camera could have been making $10 gran on on Funniest Home Videos.

The horse didn't move a muscle once he realized he was caught even though it took me more than one attempt to get on. Talk about impressing the client with one's horsemanship skills. I was really embarrassed and it wasn't Rhythm's fault.

Once it was finally in the saddle, Rhythm did just as I said. He might have shook his head a couple of times. But the horse basically went to work just as soon as I threw my leg over and applied pressure to his side pushing him of to the right. The horse moved easily off my leg and rolled over in the bridle ready to go to work.

Of course, he wasn't in much condition. The horse hadn't been worked consistently for months, so I had no idea of doing much except a basic warm-up. Lots of flexing and bending, some jogging in figure eights. The size of the figure eights helped the horse get up underneath himself and display the slow beautiful jog he learned. Then quickly I moved on to the lope. I didn't want to run out of horse before either of these women had a chance to ride.

A couple of glances between the women and it was clear, first the trainer would ride. If the truth be told, I think she couldn't wait to get on this horse. I took a brief minute to explain about cues and to check stirrup length. Then she was up on Rhythm's back.

Rhythm was cool. He knew his job and she seemed to understand my cues. He jogged a bit fast at first so I sent her towards the tracks of my figure eights. Once she followed in those he settled right in to a comfortable jog, plenty slow enough for the ring. I had her lift his head up because he was travelling too low. With that long beautiful neck, it's best displayed with his poll not lower than his whither.

Once I thought she was comfortable as the jog, I told her to go ahead and lope as I reminded her of the cues. I wanted to keep this ride short just in case there was going to be a third. I didn't want to make Rhythm sore by working him to hard with his lack of condition.

At the lope, the horse was a little long and not nearly as slow as he goes. So I gave her a couple of ideas to get the horse square up underneath her. It might have taken her three strides and the horse was loping like he should. I was pleased with her quick pick up and his giving response. The horse was showing how much he knew.

Then I had her lope the other direction so she could see the difference between his good and bad side. Then it was time to move onto a ride by the prospective buyer.

As the trainer turned the horse in towards me, she rode up and asked "Who besides you did the work on this horse?"

"No one, just me!" said I.

Then she said something I don't remember word for word about me being commended on the training on this horse. She couldn't get over how soft he was. She thought few horses really know they job as well as Rhythm, let alone one trained by an amateur.

It was also her opinion that the horse was a broke as I had said. All he needed was a tune up and to get in shape. Then the horse would be ready to put into the full bridle. Expecting to show him in the 2008 show season was definitely a good possibility.

Since the amount of training this horse had had was one of the majors concerns with no show record to back my claims, I knew Rhythm and I had passed an important test. We were about to have another one, the ride of the prospective buyer.

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

Rhythm's Story - The Park - Part 2

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  1. I really like this photograph. That's some horse.

  2. Awesome! Can't wait to read how he did to for the perspective buyer!!

  3. Now I'm super curious to find out about that ride.......I hope it went well!

  4. Oooooh that is so cool, you must have been so proud of him and youself, and it sounds like you were dealing with experienced horsewomen which is a definite plus!!!!

    Cant wait for the next instalment.


  5. Rhythm sounds so impressive. Reading your blog makes me want to switch to arabs!

  6. Great post....can't wait to see what happens next.

  7. Your 'old bones' mustn't be that bad in the end ;)) It sounds like you did a great job schooling Rhythm! Looking forward to the next part :)

  8. You always leave me wanting more!!!!! Guess that's a talent of a good writer Rising Rainbow! I am so hoping things went well when the prospective buyer got aboard! Congratulations on your award! Very, very well deserved, you always have such interesting posts and we horse lovers just eat them right up!! Thank you so much for passing one onto me, I will display it proudly!!!!

    Have you ever used Old Mac Boots on any of your horses? We went to get a pair for Buddy yesterday but they didn't have his size so they are ordering them. They are very well constructed and I think with the pads would be very comfortable for a horse with sore feet.

    I just got a call from the stable and my Thoroughbred/Welsh pony is acting cold so I went out in the barn and got his winter coat and took it up. He may have had a bit of colic too but seems to be okay now. It's bitterly cold here and he just doesn't seem to get a heavy winter coat. I was hoping this year he could go without a blanket but guess not. I am waiting for another call from the stable to see how things are going now. I will go back up if need be. Always something with these guys!

  9. We used to have A few Arabians. They are beautiful. We now breed Missouri Foxtrotters. They have the most beautiful gait. You can come by my blog anytime. Anyway is the website to our horses.

  10. This beautiful horse seems to echo your spirit..strong and determined. You've come through a lot!!
    Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. It's good to have some color to remind us that spring will come again...eventually! :)

  11. Kudos on Doing A Great Job with Rhythm. Be sure to wrap your "old bones" around a take a weel deserved pat on the back, for being a seller who A) backs up what they say, and B) has the quailty to show it!

    The horse world needs more people in it like you...

  12. Rhythm is a beautiful horse. Sounds like his training might pay off. I'll be looking forward to the rest of his story and yours.

  13. OH my! I've spent tiem reading aobut your twins ~ and I'm a-gush over the event! :)

    Thanks for your visit . . .as an Arabian lover, Quarab delight-er, I've taken in a quick peruse, and know I'll be back! :)

    Prairie Winds Arabians in SD is where my first Quarab came from . . .soon several pure bred Arabians followed. I often wish I would have followed thru better on my heart love. As of right now, I am diligently seeking to add land that I might add horses once again to my life mix. :)