Thursday, February 7, 2008

A Day in the Life of an Arabian Horse Breeder - Part 4

Part 1

Scandalous Reflection was the next horse on my list to work. This Arabian horse also has his own unique temperament. He has been referred to as Khemosabi incarnate by more than one visitor to my Arabian horse farm, not just because of his conformation, color and markings but because of his attitude as well.

The horse has this habit of swinging his head from side to side whenever he is trying to express how darn cool he thinks he is. A habit such as that can get into the way when leading a horse or standing in close proximity. Fortunately for me, the horse has learned to stop this behavior when he's told to quit. But I need to be on my toes and anticipating the behavior for the cue to be effective.

One of the things all of these horses wanted to make clear to me was that they felt like I had neglected them during my absence. For Reflection that pretty much guaranteed the horse would be swinging his head the minute he walked up to me. So I went into the stall watching for the slightest movement of the horse's head as I clucked and asked him to move backwards and make way for me in the stall.

Before the horse even began to step back, his head flung to the right and he snorted at me. I reached up with my fist into the route of his oncoming head just in time to smack the horse on the snout. He knew instantly what the correction was for; he dropped his head and stepped back with a sigh and began searching for the noseband of the halter.

Just like the other stallions I own, this horse could really use a pacifier. It's hard for him to stand still and not have something occupy his little pea brain. He tried to help me take his blanket off, grabbing at the straps making them harder to undo and pulling on the shoulder of the blanket like he thought he could take if off himself and I'm don't know for sure, but maybe he can.

As I tied the horse up so I could groom him, Reflection reached over and grabbed at my clothes. The tone of my voice was enough to correct him but the horse was still looking for an opening. Anything that could get some action going on would do, he was bored enough he didn't really care if he was in trouble or not. The horse exuded energy out of every pore.

I was careful grooming him and putting on the polo wraps. I was even more careful taking him out of the stall. The horse has been known to charge the door on occasions. As I got to the doorway, I stopped. Then I backed him up a step or two and stopped again. I wanted the horse to be thinking about me instead of assuming what we were going to do.

Reflection cleared the stall doorway ok but then I felt his body tense. I stopped him again and moved him away from me to the right. This made him give his feet to me, another message that I was in charge. I only moved about three steps before I stopped him again and asked him to lower his head. I knew he was thinking about charging towards Legs's stall door.

Keeping ahead of the horse by changing up my requests averted the confrontation he was planning on having with Legs. It also helped to get his mind on track for lunging.

Once we were in the arena and I sent the horse off around me, he started off cautiously at the trot. Unlike his brother Storm who always begins like the devil is chasing him, Reflection is not the most motivated horse to move. He would prefer not to work too hard. Actually, I guess he would prefer not to work at all. Play is more like what he had in mind.

It is the same message for both horses, I am the one who controls how fast or how slow each will travel. The minute I pushed Reflection up a notch, the horse began bucking and kicking and flying around. Almost in the same spot as his sister, Reflection's feet went out from underneath him and the horse hit the ground hard. Down in a heap with his back towards me in I swear the same position as Vee had done just about an hour before.

Again my heart stopped. I hate that when a horse goes down. I watched with anticipation for some response from the horse. Reflection didn't waste anytime making it clear he was totally p*ssed off that he had fallen. The horse was back up on his feet and screaming his displeasure but gingerly moving away from the place he had fallen.

Taking about a half a lap before the horse came back to full bore, he snorted at the spot he had fallen as he leapt over it. Then slapping his feet to the ground hard as he expressed his continued displeasure, the horse began the leaping and bounding he had done the day that he dumped me

Since I want the horse to learn that he cannot do those kind of maneuvers whenever I am working him, I applied pressure to the horse by scolding him first with my voice. I followed that by cracking the lunge whip at him and when that didn't stop the behavior I actually cracked him on the fanny with that whip. That put an end to it.

I immediately praised him with my voice letting him know that this was the response I was looking for. He responded my flinging his head which was the horse equivalent of F off and so I cracked him again. After that he settled down and was a good boy.

It's hard for me to push a horse forward after they've taken a spill in the dirt that way. I'm concerned that the horse might go down again. But then not correcting the horse leaves it's own set of problems. If this horse doesn't learn to curtail this behavior he will never be safe to ride. That makes the decision come down to my safety or his. So, of course, it has to be mine and the horse must be corrected.

Again it was only about ten minutes and I had a sweaty, heaving horse. Hand walking was a must and by then the horse was glad to just walk. He walked around the arena more like a gelding than the pistol packin' fire breather he'd just recently been. I had three Arabian horses down and three to go. It's a good thing the "easier" ones were the ones left.

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

Part 5

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  1. He looks a lot more, what in my head at least is stereotypically arabian.

  2. WTG... you have been number one on the blog list every time I have voted. Give yourself a pat on the back.

  3. Ten good minutes can be more valuable than an hour's training sometimes. Just the way you enforced his manners was so important!

    I also commend you for having your priorities right. He did need to be corrected. I think it's a respect thing. If you insist on it, you get it. And you've got a happier horse for it.

    He's lovely, by the way. Right now I'm really loving my Appys but I do believe I'll have another Arab some day.

  4. Sounds like he was full of energy and didn't know what to do with it. When a horse goes down, you just never know what's going to be until they get up, it's a heart stopping few seconds.

  5. He is just beautiful! You are right, you have to stay with them and make them mind or you are setting yourself up for alot more trouble down the road. We have a 7 year old bay gelding that will try that when I lunge him. He will start bucking and try to pull me all over the place. Normally once I scold him vocally, he will settle down and do right. Love reading your posts! Have a great and blessed day!

  6. My gawd, he is a gorgeous animal. Just stunning!

    it is always scary when a horse goes makes our hearts stop and our breath still until they get back up on all fours unhurt (hopefully uninjured!)

  7. I'm sorry...I must be a little ADD today...I just can't seem to focus!

  8. Mikael, you've won another award, you popular gal, you. Come on over to my blog and copy the pic and post your award! Thanks!

  9. Hi MiKael! Scandalous Reflection is absolutely gorgeous!! I came by way of the BLOG VILLAGE Equine WebRing, voted IN at BV, rated your blog there, voted OUT and will continue on to the next equine blog on the WebRing. Great work with Reflection and a wonderful post!!!

  10. What a beauty!

    I honestly believe that is all you have at your farm, just one beauty after another!

  11. Hi! I noticed earlier that you do not have the BV Equine WebRing on your blog.

    I want to let you know that I have created a message board (of sorts) over at BV Equine WebRing Message Board. This will give us an area to work out the bugs in the webring. While not all of them have installed the HTML Code for the BV Equine WebRing yet, we have 9 members now!

  12. scary,interesting, to the many of the Arabian people he would not be as typey as his brother, Storm. To me, I like both horses very much but they are definitely two very different types of horses. I guess would be a good representative of a particular strain. But I'm not that up on those strains and their characteristics.

    lovelee, thanks, I wouldn't be there without you guys. Thanks for voting.

    heidi, I agree. It's not the time that counts it's what you do with it.

    grey horse matters, I couldn't believe that was my second horse to go down like that in one day. The stress along wore me out. lol
    BTW the two falling horses, full siblings! LOL

    kris, yes it doesn't matter what the sex, pushy is pushy. This horse usually does this stuff just playing but he has to learn he cannot do it when he is being asked to work. That is what got me hurt. It started off as play but then he got scared.

    barngoddess, he is definitely a special horse. I will be glad when he is broke and safe to ride. He's going to be a blast to show.

    As for those falling horses, having lost on in a fall, I'm sure I over react but I just can't help myself. I see Scandalous laying there each and every time I see a horse fall.

    tracey, it couldn't be because you are so excited you were accepted for the mustang challenge, could it? Congrats again!

    callie, Thanks for the award. But just so you know, when I win awards, I take the opportunity to not write a regular post! LOL

    sabrina, the same thing can be said for you! And this is a wierd meme you've got this time. LOL

    janey loree, I lost my code for the web ring, can you help me with that.

    marvel, thank you. isn't that what a breeder strives to do? I have been lucky to breed some exceptional if I could just get some of them sold, I might get to breed some more. LOL I am turning into a collector.

  13. I will send you the BV Equine WebRing panel code via email! Have a great weekend!!

  14. Bombay is a Khemosabi grandson and he throws his head around too. I'm always warning the kids to be aware of what he's doing with his head, because one toss to the side and he could break someone's nose. Gabbrielle is a Khemosabi great-granddaughter. I love the bloodline. Your horses are all gorgeous!