Monday, February 18, 2008

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

Part One of the Baby Boomer Series

Rhythm's Story starts here

After the intial problems with Rhythm refusing to get into the trailer, I really didn't get many calls about the Arabian horse's behavior. It appeared that once Brittany and Rich got a handle on drawing the line with this pushy horse that things were moving right along. I was only to learn later of some of the stunts that he pulled but evidently they felt that they had him figured out and were on the right track.

When they had first purchased the horse, the plan had been that Brittany would ride him three days a week and the young trainer would work him two. The young trainer would put the horse into the bridle when he was fitted up and ready for that step. For show season the following year, both would show the horse, the trainer in the open division and Brittany in the amateur.

Somewhere along this road, things went south. The trainer decided that she needed to have a contract signed and approximately $3000 to be involved with this horse. She didn't seem to care that this was the kind of horse that would make her a name as a trainer. She was more interested in the money regardless of whether the Baker's could afford it or not. So that was the end of the affiliation with the trainer.

While Brittany felt comfortable riding Rhythm on her own, this three day schedule was not what was best for the horse. The other problem was that Brittany had never put a horse into the full bridle before. Rhythm was clearly the kind of a horse that could easily be ruined by not understanding this process or his reactions to it. Brittany needed help.

For me, the Arabian trainer on the east coast that I was most impressed with was Tommy Garland. After two different clinics with the man (one in which he had actually worked with Rhythm) and a lot of study of his training DVD's, Tommy Garland and his CPR for horses was definitely my recommendation. I knew how Rhythm would respond to such work after his experience with Harvey Jacobs.

So Rich Baker got on the phone to make arrangements to take Rhythm and Brittany down to Garland's in Virginia. Because Tommy does the show for RFD-TV and also trains and shows horses, finding a time in his schedule that would work for Brittany to bring her horse down for for help took some doing.

Rich did get an appointment set up the first part of September (actually over the Labor Day weekend). Rich would drive the rig since Brittany doesn't haul the horse trailer. Rich and Brittany would stay for three days. That way Brittany would be able to get three lessons with Tommy and Brittany would be able to hang around the farm each day watching how the horses were worked. It would be like her own personal clinic.

In the meantime, Brittany continued to work the horse on her three days away from work. Rhythm was getting more fit and Brittany was getting an idea about all of his buttons. The only problem seemed to be that Rhythm would get off the trailer at the farm where she rode and scream his lungs out. The horse was convinced that he was there for mares and not work. Once she got on his back the horse would go to work. After he was ridden he would behave and act like a gelding, but those first minutes off the trailer were Rhythm being naughty!

The barn that Brittany hauls in to ride is a warmblood barn. Arabian horses are not usually of much interest to the people there but this particular Arabian was stirring up a lot of attention. Some thought he was crazy because he was naughty if taken down the barn ailse, but others were intrigued by the horse's charisma once he went to work.

Rich says in most of the time they've been bringing horses to this barn to ride, they've never gotten much attention. But every time they show up with Rhythm someone has to come to watch. It was soon clear to Rich how strong Rhythm's charisma really is..........

to be continued............

Tommy Garland's

The above picture of Rhythm was taken here on my farm. The significance of this picture is it is the one that brought Brittany and Rich Baker to us looking at Rhythm in the first place.

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  1. Did they first see Rhythm here, on your blog? Or was it on your website? I'm glad he's doing so well!

  2. Oh goody. I'm so happy to hear this news of Tommy working Rhythm. This will surely be an interesting story.

  3. Rhythm is a gorgeous horse. I do like a horse with a lot of personality and he sure has it. I'm glad they are doing well with him and that you still have contact and know how he's doing, that must make you feel good to still have some connection with him.

  4. I can see why they were drawn to Rhythm by that photo! it says a lot about him and it shows his beauty.

    I think that trainer who was all about money needs to find another profession........

    Im glad they figured out Rhythm's buttons and got themselves some good help :)

  5. It's funny when warmblood/dressage people watch quality arabians working and say "That's an ARABIAN??!" like they can't believe an arab can have great gaits and mannerisms. This is changing in the dressage world though. Our little horses with lots of smarts and big hearts are winning people over and changing old prejudices. And I LOVE it.

  6. What an odd move by that trainer to suddenly demand more for working with Rhythm. It surprises me how often people aren't able to see the big picture.

  7. horse people really seem to have a problem with "talking" horses. Is the talking really interferring with his ability to do what you ask? If not, I'd be picking my battles, especially with this one.

  8. L, no they found Rhythm on my website. BUT my blog has really helped the rankings of my website in the search engine. So the blog did have an influence in this sale.

    abraham, Rhythm is definitely one special horse.

    molly,yes is has become an interesting story.

    grey horse matters, it is reassuring to be in contact with them and know they care so much for him.

    barngoddess, I don't know what to think about that deal with the trainer. But from other things I have heard, I'm not sure she was the right person to be helping with him anyway.

    dressagemom, I love it too. This horse has changed a lot of people's ideas about what Arabians are capable of from QHs to warmbloods, that's pretty good for one horse. lol

    katee, well according to the trainer she wasns't interested in the big picture. Funny how that changed from when she was here to just a few weeks later. Maybe she thought she had them over a barrel. Who knows.....

  9. Holly, with this particular horse talking is not a good thing. I didn't have a problem with it here. The fact he does it with them tells me he thinks he can be in charge sometimes. That's not a good thing for Rhythm.

  10. Are horses like dogs in that they want to try to be top boss?
    I love the photo of rhythm

  11. What a BEAUTIFUL picture of Rhythm! Yes, I too can see why they were drawn to him! Just lovely! My shaggy 'ole boys look so dumpy in their winter coats, can't wait to get them shed out and shiny again. To answer your question, Buddy is doing really well in his new custom shoes. He is comfortable on the hard uneven ground and is moving well, well as well as he does at his advanced age. Can't wait to start working him again. It will be very light work until we see how he is going to be, but hopefully he will be good for trail riding, he loves that. Thanks for asking!!!! :o)

  12. differences in horses.

    My mare talks when she's nervous. Once she is comfortable, the talking disappears. So talking means something different to me and my mare.

  13. He is a gorgeous horse. Glad to hear that they got hooked up with the right trainer. Is the one that suddenly demanded more money, the one that came to look at him?

  14. kahless, yes horses have pecking order and will try to be the leader if there isn't an obvious one already.

    midlife mom, I can hardly wait for my horses to shed out as well. This herd just doesn't look the same in the winter. lol

    holly, all horses are different, that's for sure. But Rhythm really wants to be dominant so nothing can be ignored with him or else there's problems.

    callie, yes the trainer who wanted more money is the one who came here all expense paid to look at him.

  15. What a wonderful horse!! I love those arab success stories. I wish more folks were open to the breed. I know I love to kick a little wb butt from time to time.

  16. When you say full bridle, you mean like a western curb, right? The lingo I am used to a full bridle would be a double bridle for dressage or saddleseat.

  17. If you get the time, could you do a post on Arabian conformation? There is not much info out there, and I have had a really hard time becoming adequate in this area. I kind of go by a few points and overall impression. I am often right, but sometimes grossly wrong. I know it changes with potential use, but just an overview would be great. Thanks.