Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Chuck Kraft Clinic - Killer Part 3

Part 1

I doubt if there was a person in the arena who wasn't amazed as they watched that yearling half-Arabian horse go from being a horse with the reputation of being a bad ass to one getting his very first trim standing ground tied in the arena. Heck, who does that? Let alone with a horse that was totally wild just a few weeks before and yet that's exactly what we were experiencing.

I couldn't help but think about Tracey and her mustangs as I watched this demonstration. This horse had been that wild when he was captured and slammed into a trailer. Only I know Tracey gives her mustangs much more understanding than this colt had received when he'd been caught. He'd been so man handled that he thought all humans were evil. It was no wonder that he was coming out fighting, people hadn't given him much choice. Now the horse was getting a different view of humans. Hopefully it's one that will stay with him the rest of his life and he'll be able to put those first experiences behind him.

After the hoof trimming, Chuck Kraft gave the horse a brief break. Then he decided to try one more thing with him. Out came the canopy of a parachute...........minus the strings. I looked around the arena to see if others might be as incredulous as I was..........and it looked like they were. What did Chuck Kraft have in mind for the horse this time? I wish I had pictures because you're not going to believe it.

Chuck Kraft shook that parachute just enough for it to unfurl some so we could get the picture of what we were looking at. It was a slick slippery nylon thing made of brightly colored wedges but it crumbled up into a pretty small clump. That's how Chuck Kraft first introduced it to this horse, all waded up small and less threatening.

Chuck Kraft let the horse smell it and touch it. The whole time stroking the horse to soothe him. Gradually he increased the size of the chute letting the horse adjust to the bigger view. Before long he had that whole parachute opened up wide and was tossing it over the horse.

Of course the horse scooted right out from underneath the parachute but immediately turned back to look at it and Chuck Kraft standing there holding the thing. Chuck approached the horse with his outstretched hand and soon was back rubbing that horse on the neck and whithers.

I've thrown things over my Arabian horses heads blocking their eyes from all view, so I know it's possible to do such things. But I usually do it with a horse blanket or a sleazy as part of their training to be show horses. It never occurred to me to be using anything bigger and you can sure bet a parachute would never have been part of my thought process. Yet here was Chuck Kraft throwing a parachute over a yearling horse that was being called killer by a BNT.

It didn't take long and that young horse was standing there calmly with that parachute thrown over the top of him. The horse was covered from his head clear down to his flank and standing there quietly waiting for Chuck Kraft to tell him what to do.

Next thing you know Chuck Kraft was crawling under that parachute and joining the young horse. At on point he stood out in front of the horse with the parachute tented over the two of them. At another he was standing beside the horse asking the horse to back, go forward, side pass etc, all while the two of them were covered with that parachute. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have trusted being underneath that parachute with that yearling even though he was showing that he really did want to be good.

Johnny Johnston took pictures of Chuck Kraft and the half-Arabian horse underneath that parachute. He gave me permission to post them here but I first have to get them from Rose Corey. I thought they were coming last night via email but they still haven't arrived. But I promise when I get them, you'll be the first to know. I still can't believe how that gelding stood there and trusted Chuck enough to cover him with that parachute.

I stayed around after the clinic and talked some with Rose, Bret and Kelsey and, of course, Chuck Kraft and his wife. Rose told what it was like to go pick up this horse from the BNT's barn.

They had her back her horse trailer right snug up to the doorway to not give the horse anywhere to escape. Then they drugged the horse to even load him.

It took a lip chain and three men to press the horse up against a wall with the lead run around the stall bars for extra leverage cramming the horse's head into the bars. Even with all of that, the intravenous injection was difficult to administer to the fighting horse. Rose said it was all she could do to stand there and be silent knowing she had to do what she could to get that horse out of there and hopefully to some help.

When she was about an hour down the road, Rose got a call from the BNT. She thought he was wanting to make sure she understood the horse she was taking home for her teenager to work with was dangerous..........very dangerous. He told her it wasn't too late to back out....

Now they were all wondering what the BNT would think if he could see what the young horse had gone through this afternoon. He'd shown a side of himself that the BNT had never seen.

The owners had been there to see this transformation and couldn't believe their eyes. They were prepared to sell this horse and actually the prospective buyers were there to see the demonstration as well. By the time it was over, the owners had decided to keep the horse. They are leaving him with Kelsey to train.

Yesterday, I was at Creekwood Farm for a photoshoot and I asked Kelsey how Khriminal was doing. She said it's going really slow. He starts out each day like he didn't learn anything the day before but by the end of the session she can pick up his feet and mess with them. Each day it gets just a bit easier. It's going to be a long hard road but lucky for this horse, Kelsey and the owners are willing to see him through.

The real test will be when it's time to train him to be a show horse. This horse clearly will not be able to withstand the training methods of most of the BNT's in the Arabian breed. Whether or not the owners will understand that and be willing to do what it will take so this horse gets a fair shot it's way too early to tell. But for now, the horse is somewhere the people really care about him and he's getting a new lease on life................and a new name.

If anyone has ideas for names for this boy, please feel free to let me know. The owners have given Kelsey permission to change his registered name and she's looking for something appropriate.

This picture is of me working with Reflection sacking him out after our accident. My understanding of the Parelli stuff would be that this isn't appropriate because they horse is wearing a snaffle bit. From what Chuck Kraft was saying after the clinic it sounds to me like he's an advocate of only riding in a rope halter or bridleless.

My guess is that I'll long since be dead before it's appropriate to show in Arabian shows in only a halter or bridleless. And since I'm of the belief that a bit doesn't have to be harmful to a horse if used properly, I'll go on doing what I'm doing.....riding with my legs and very soft hands. I'm going to trust my horses to tell me if there's a problem. So far my horses seem to be pretty happy under saddle.

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  1. For a name how about: Redemption... That's all I can think of right now. It's what popped into my head while reading the post even before I got to the point where you said they were looking for a new name for him.

    I do the parachute thing on a much smaller scale lol. I'll use tarps, blankets, sheets off my bed, whatever is big enough to completely cover the horse, but still be managable. Most of the horses here I can completely blindfold and they will follow me wherever I lead without much hesitation. It's useful and the flapping, flying things don't bother them as much afterwards.

    I can't wait to see pics tho. Trying to imagine a parachute over a horse is hard and I have a good imagination. :)

    How is Lindsay doing? Good I hope.

  2. Can't wait to see pics of that, must have been amazing to witness with your own eyes.

  3. GREAT entry!! I've thoroughly enjoyed reading about this horse. Keep us updated on his's nice to read about other "difficult/dangerous" horses. :)

  4. Pretty interesting clinic, I'd say. I agree with L of C on the new name, Redemption. Good name!

  5. WOW!! Can't wait to see the pics!

    The guy sounds amazing!

  6. I love the Chuck Krafts and Kelseys of the world! My mustang was a great boy and a wonderful learner, but after a year of training he still needed to be drugged in order to get his hooves trimmed. I had a great friend who kept telling me not to give up, keep looking for the RIGHT farrier.

    Then I found him. In a matter of minutes this wonderful farrier had my mustang standing ground tied with soft eyes while he snipped away at his hooves. I cried.

    This wunder-farrier I found had just started out on his own. For years he'd been an apprentice to a Big Name hunter/jumper Trainer in the area. He'd never even worked with a mustang before and I figured he was going to take one look at my guy and declare him (nose in air) "not worth my time." Man, was I wrong.

    For all of you out there with "killers" keep looking for the Chuck Krafts and Kelseys and wunder-farriers of the world!!

  7. What a nice post! So good to hear people showing others the difference.
    I am now working with my horses sans halters and all tack. It's very interesting! I've been able to ride all over the neighborhood like that. Surprisingly, it works. In fact I just posted some videos of us working that way.

    As for the farriers, we see it all the time. Horses very misunderstood. We operate Fearless Farrier Service and we take on almost any horse. Much of the time, owners have gone too far in subduing a horse. Case in point, a young stud who fought and hurt several people. I asked he be brought to us. That day I had the flu so bad I thought I might faint. But I got under him anyway in a round pen, haltered, lead rope on the ground. I asked him to stay put and asked for the feet. He was fine!!
    The problem was they had tied him up short and he fought it. Not tied, he was fine. He was a very sensitive horse.
    Afterwards I asked Wade to get under to prove it wasn't just me. He did and the owners were so in awe. That did more for our reputation, lol. Then Wade went around him and stood at each foot and snapped his fingers. The horse would pick them right up! All this in one hour, on a horse no one ever thought would get done. We all agreed he was just showing off :)
    Sometimes it's a matter of trying different things until something works. I believe in not manhandling them and forcing, more in persuading a horse.
    It's always amazing to see them come around. Can't wait to see pics.

  8. What a fascinating clinic to go to. I haven't been to any of those kinds of clinics but I think I should try and go.

    I love riding in just a halter! In the last few years I've been riding Kaswyn a lot in a halter. It started out because we were in rehab and hand walking my horse is a total pain. But then I tried some walking and trotting, and now I can get him "on the bit" without a bit, and we can do many dressage movements at the trot and canter with just a halter. Half passes, flying cahnges, and even some canter pirouettes (they aren't perfect but he does them). I even ride trail with a halter now. Kaswyn loves it and I think it's great too.

  9. How about Khrafty Miracle?

  10. new names:






    I have to agree with Mikey, most horses fight back when you fight with them first. My mare is a classic example. If I can explain to her, in some way that she understands, what it is I'm asking she is more than willing to please.

    My heart broke for this poor gelding. I cannot imagine being so frightened and then being confined with those that scare you.

    Although Mr. Kraft did a fine job, I think he went to fast if the horse was striking at the plastic bags. Slower and higher at first might have been faster.

    What he did is something called flooding.....and sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't. And it very often doesn't hold.

  11. I have something waiting for you over at Nuzzling Muzzles.

  12. Wow, pretty cool transformation in that horse, huh?

  13. I gave you an award! Come on over to my blog and check it out! :)

  14. Oh! MiKael, I just thought of a new name for Khriminal - how about Kharess?