Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Rachel and Grandma and Arabian Horses at the Daffodil Summer Show.....a whole herd of them! Halter

Part 1
I know I've said that Dandy really isn't a halter horse. What goes along with this is he's never had a great amount of attention paid to teaching him to stand up for halter. Rachel had some lessons with him from Crystal Baker but the horse was never a fan of the process. He just didn't like it much and was resistant to say the least.

Rachel reassured me the horse did know how to stand up but that he would not trot. However, that's not what I found when I stood in front of the horse and asked him to come towards me and set his feet. The horse looked back at me like I was from outer space or speaking a foreign language. Walking backwards in front of him, I raised my hand (the cue for him to whoa) and the horse just kept right on walking. I corrected him with a quick shank and told him whoa while the horse looked back at me with this puzzled look on his face. It was clear this halter class was going to be a trial.

I decided right then and there that all I was going to ask of this horse was to set his feet and to look at me. There was no way I was going to spend any time teaching Dandy to use his neck for one class that he was probably going to place last in anyway. All I wanted was for him to stand still and use his ears. We were going to look like we didn't belong out there, but that was tough. I wasn't going to humiliate my poor horse anymore than I was already.

Now if you've done any messing around with halter horses, you'll know that getting the horse to use his ears can be a real pain. But thanks to Mike Neal and his halter clinic http://risingrainbow.blogspot.com/2008/03/baby-boomer-learns-arabian-halter-meet.html , I've become really good at it.

I stood in front of Dandy and raised up my hand. When he didn't look at me I jumped right at him and chased him backwards. It only took one time and Dandy wasn't taking anymore chances. Each time I raised my hand his ears darted forward as his eyes locked on me to see what I was going to do next. That was it..............we were ready to show halter.

The transition from trail to halter was a whirlwind of activity. The horse not only needed to be untacked, the sweat marks from the saddle had to be fixed. Of course, because the clock was ticking, those sweat marks took on a life of their own. They seemed to spread instead of get smaller. I thought we'd never get them cleaned up.

Not to be outdone by a horse, I had my own issues left over from trail. Trying to make my "hat hair" look fresh and bouncy for halter was about as stressful as dealing with Dandy's sweat marks. Remind me to never follow trail with halter again, will you?

We not only had to get Dandy transformed for halter, we had the other two horses to get ready as well. The tricky part was getting the right halters on the right horses and making sure the horses were all at the ring when they were supposed to be. Finding time to school each horse before their class was out of the question because our classes went geldings, mares and then stallions.........one, two three..........boy, was I nuts!

We made it up to the ring in just enough time to double check that Dandy still remembered how to set his feet and give his ears. It seems that about the time I raised my whip to ask for those ears, I heard my name called over the loud speaker as the first exhibitor to enter the ring. I wondered how I'd managed to earn that honor (sarcasm, in case you're wondering) when I remembered that now the horses enter the ring according to their age. At 18 it was no wonder that Dandy was first.

So we walked into the ring as instructed. Then we began trotting at the cone.........and yes, the horse did trot. We were supposed to trot around to the ring master which was half way around the ring............... too far for me and my asthma, so we just trotted until I figured the judge was no longer looking and then walked the rest of the way. I'm pretty sure that Dandy was OK with that decision. Probably the only one he was happy with though.

Part of the new scoring system has the horses judged at the walk. So in the beginning of each class the exhibitors in mass are asked to walk their horses around the ring. Once all the horses have walked past the judge, they are asked to reverse.

While we were doing this walking, I walked past a group of my friends. One of them made a comment about me not usually showing Dandy in halter. I quipped about him being too old and at least twice the age of any other horse in the class..........to which my former friend, Steve Bryson, responded, "Well, so are you!." Wait until I get my chance to get even with him.

When Dandy and I were called forward to show to the judge, I walked the horse forward, stopped him in front of the judge and asked the horse to give his ears. Then I turned to the judge and said, "This is a good as it gets. We're only out here as a favor for a friend.........and believe me, she owes me big time!"

The judge, Richard Petty, laughed and said, "It looks like he's enjoying it ok" as he looked at Dandy.

To which I replied, "Believe me, he's let me know that he's not appreciating this much. He'll be happy when he gets the carrots he's been promised....but probably not until then."

With that we trotted off towards the rail and headed on down to the far end of the arena to watch the rest of the horses show. The humiliation was over..........well, except for the placings. Imagine my surprise when the horse wasn't last at all. That's right..........Dandy ended up placing 6th out of 7.

In the next two classes, Hope was second out of two and Legs was first out of one. Hope tanked on me (wouldn't give me her ears or any expression) which was probably understandable considering her lack of schooling. Legs on the other hand, showed really nicely. It was a shame there weren't other horses in the class. Looking at his scores I think he would have done well.

So I survived my 7 classes in one session. Looking back at it, while it was wild and crazy it was also really fun. I'm not so sure I'd put Dandy through the humiliation of halter ever again, but looking at his scores, it was clear that Richard Petty seemed to like him. His scores were actually higher than Hope's................and she has multi championships in halter.

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

I actually had video of this halter class but it was too long for YouTube to accept. If I can figure out how to edit it down, I will post it so you can see Dandy's expression. He really was put out by this whole thing. I think he thought I lost my marbles over this one.

Just for the record, after this was all said and done, Angie didn't get all the points she needed for Eclipse. I think she's planning on coercing me into doing this again. Wanna make any bets?

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  1. Since I know practically nothing about halter classes, I can only say it seems you and the horses did a good job.

  2. Halter classes can be be fun or they can be a nightmare! I've been in both! lol! Sorry I haven't been around much lately, my mother had a knee replacement and is now in rehab. It's been a busy time but I think today was the best day yet so I hope we are over the worst. Take care! Great post as always!