Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Chuck Kraft Clinic - Killer

Part 1

I must admit, I didn't know the second horse of the clinic was this particular horse. I had heard about him shortly after he arrived at Creekwood Farms. But he wasn't the horse I had originally heard was going to occupy this second slot. It turns out "that" horse was injured so didn't make it to the clinic. They decided that this yearling would be a good replacement since he had been deemed dangerous by the BNT.

I probably should include something about Kelsey. She is a kid. I'm not sure of her age but know she will be a senior this coming school year. Kelsey lives and breathes for Arabian horses and she has a gift...........since this horse had come to be with Kelsey (approximately a month ago and she's been gone on vacation for two of those weeks) she hasn't seen any of the outrageous behavior she's been told about this horse. However, she hasn't tried to trim his feet either. She has been working with him using the Perelli method.

I was planning on leaving right after lunch but caught of glimpse of this horse right after Kelsey handed him over to Chuck Kraft. He threw his head up high and got a look that reminded me of Scarlet. That peaked my interest so I called home and found out that Lindsay was in capable hands. Her sister had arrived with my grandkids to help pick rocks and poo out of some of my pastures. Bless their little hearts........

It was clear from the start that this horse wasn't sure what to think of Chuck Kraft. The expression on the Arabian horse's face said he was uncertain but prepared to "meet" whatever came his way. I wouldn't have been surprised to see the horse flip over and throw himself on the ground with too much, if any, pressure. His eye did not show a happy horse! There were no signs of trust at all.

Dear sweet Scarlet gets the same expression when I put the halter on. Her eye bulges just a bit. She doesn't freak out but she clearly is looking for a way to "beat" whatever it is that I throw her way. Having had a foal get hurt throwing himself onto the ground, that's the last thing I want to see. If I can find a better way of dealing with such a foal, I'll be a happy camper.

This yearling looked like he was expecting something bad to happen to him from the moment Chuck Kraft took the lead. The horse didn't know what that "bad thing" was going to be but he was ready to take it on. I could tell from his expression that he didn't want to be mean or naughty but he didn't want to be hurt either. As I've said before you cannot beat up Arabian horses..........some of them will fight back. This yearling was clearly one of those fighters.

I love horses with big attitudes like this. It translates to presence in the show ring if you can get it channeled in the appropriate direction. But a horse like this can easily be screwed up by an aggressive handler/trainer. It was going to be interesting to see what Chuck Kraft did with this horse.

The minute the Arabian horse showed resistance to pressure on his face, Chuck Kraft got out his 22 foot rope with the ring in the end and used it just like The Mike Neal Halter Clinic - The Belly Band Theory He threaded the rope around the horse's trunk through the horse's legs and up throw the loop in the rope halter.

Then he added a second 22 foot rope that he looped across the horse's back around his butt just above the hocks and back. Holding both ends of this second rope in his hand, if the horse showed any resistance to the pressure he could use this second rope to "show" the horse to come forward by pulling on him.

Clearly the fact that Kelsey had already been working with this horse helped him to accept both ropes wrapped around him in various ways. As long as the ropes weren't hurting him and the human was trying to be nice, the gelding tolerated things.

Once he had both ropes in place Chuck Kraft used the carrot stick flicking the lash towards the horse's butt to signal him to move forward. The "killer" horse was hesitant so Chuck slowly pulled on the second rope causing the horse to come forward. At the first sign of movement, he gave the horse the release and petted him.

I could just picture me doing this with dear sweet Scarlet. Getting the ropes in place would be the trick. It's a good thing she's still little. I think it might actually work and get her moving forward instead of throwing herself on the ground in resistance.

With this gelding it worked pretty darn fast. I think Chuck only asked him a very few times before the horse had it figured out all he had to do was to move forward when asked. It was very impressive to watch how quickly his eye got soft and he began to trust that Chuck Kraft did not want to hurt him. From there it was all positive.

Once Chuck had the young horse clearly understanding the forward cue he began to work on desensitizing. Up to this point we had still seen no signs of the horse's dangerous behavior only the hint that he was on alert.

Out came the dreaded plastic bag tied to the lash end of the carrot stick just like he'd done with Rocky in the morning session. Chuck worked all over the horse's body looking for places where the horse was sensitive. Being careful to be especially thorough around the horse's legs and feet since the horse needs to learn to stand for the farrier.

Everything seemed to be going along fine. The horse was coming around quicker and quicker. His head was low. His eye was soft..........then Chuck Kraft ramped up the pressure on those front legs............and in an instant the horse attacked in lightning fast strikes that plastic bag trying to pulverize it into the ground.

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

Killer - Part 2

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  1. Oh man.. I'm really hoping that life doesn't up and bite you tomorrow... I really want to see how this turns out. :)

  2. It sounds absolutely fascinating. I have seen a Parelli clinic on TV but never anything like it in 'real life'

  3. Oh boy and now I will have to wait until Sunday night or Monday morning to read the outcome coz you wont post again before I leave for the horse show!!

    Hope the stings are getting better and that you managed to get rid of that nest of hornet/wasp things.

    Hope Lindsay is also well on the road to a complete recovery.

    Scarlet sounds like a little spitfire. I use the rope around the butt and thro the halter on a lot of my young and old horses. In fact it was my way of teaching Cayenne and Wiggle to load in the trailer recently as they were hesitant to go all the way in. It is a great method if you are working on your own with a horse without another pair of hands or person to help. That bit of pressure and release on the butt was all they needed (plus grain and hay in the feeder of the trailer and Apples LOL)

    "See" you after the show, it looks like it is going to be another hot one (a week ago they predicted upper 70s lower 80s but now they are predicting upper 80s and scattered thunderstorms!). Hopefully it wont be like 2 years ago 96F both days.



  4. lady of chaos, I sure wish I had pictures of him working with this gelding. It was very interesting.

    ro,the way he worked this horse was much the same as Harvey Jacobs would have done. I think the basics are pretty much the same. It was sure educational to see how he worked with the issues of this horse.

    lori, in this case it was a combination of the two ropes that caused the horse to co-operate. A butt rope with a normal lead would have been a wreck........and is a wreck with Scarlet, I might add.

  5. watching these clinics is really like watching a detective show.. finding the clues to the mystery of the particular horse... i'm staying tuned

    gp in montana

  6. Good post! now post the rest already! lol. I must know what happens next!!

    Also, Kelsey sounds 17-18...

  7. Wow...lots of reading, I just caught up on the last 5 or 6 posts and the clinic sounds so interesting!

    Gah! To be continued! =(

  8. I read a couple other horse blogs, and I am learning things about them I never knew! Can't wait to read the rest of this story now!

    Have a good weekend!

    (((((( HUGS ))))))