Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Region 4 Championships......Moving In

Sometimes it seems that life is stranger than fiction. That's pretty much how it felt at the Region 4 All Arabian Horse Show in Salem Oregon. From one day to the next, I didn't know what was going to happen next.

It started off with the first day we arrived. Our stalls were located in the old race horse barns on the far end of the facility........right exactly where we wanted to be. The next to last row of barns right next to the restrooms.

The barns are typical of their era. They are constructed of cinder blocks with dutch doors. I've always thought it was nice the horses could hang their heads out and see what was happening around them. That is until Rhet.

Right from the start the colt was NOT happy. Being in a strange place wasn't his idea of fun and those half doors.........well they seemed perfect for jumping. Considering that he had easily jumped out of the palpation chute at the vets just a couple of days before, I wasn't taking his threats lightly.

I started off by closing the top door thinking if he had a while to adjust to the new surroundings he'd settle down. So while we unloaded all our gear and set the tack rooms up, Rhet could be heard screaming his displeasure at being locked in this cinder block stall.

Every now and then I opened the door to give the colt a chance to redeem himself but Rhet was having none of it. He was not a happy horse and he had no plans of staying in that stall so I closed the upper door again thinking the colt would eventually get it figured out and settle.

In addition to getting moved in, I needed to make a trip to the tack store. We'd finally gotten around to trying a hunt saddle on Louie only to find we didn't have a girth small enough for the young Arabian horse.

The tack store wasn't going to be open the next two days and Louie had a class on Monday. That meant despite the work to be done at the stalls, I had to leave and get Louie a girth.

Melanie drove me since my truck was still fully loaded, not to mentioned hitched to my trailer. She had forgotten her boots and needed them for her classes as well. It was kind of funny the two of us setting off together since both of us seem to be geographically challenged. We did manage to find the tack store ok though. Then we rushed back to help finish with the set-up.

The first thing I did was check on Rhet's status in his stall. The horse just about knocked me down as I opened up that top door. It was pretty clear that closing him totally in was not going to be the solution to this problem.
Melanie and I loaded up again and headed back to the tack store for a stall guard. Hopefully the additional height provided by adding the stall guard over the top of the lower door would keep the colt in. Hopefully he wouldn't be silly and do something like rearing and get his feet stuck in the guard but the way things were going I didn't really know what to expect.

When we returned with the stall guard and the six eight bolts it took to install it, I put a halter on the colt and held him while the stall guard was installed. Once it was in place, I turned Rhet loose. Then stood back to see what the colt would do.

The stall guard was adjustable and we'd tightened it up so it hung snugly across the opening. I don't think it took Rhet more than a half hour or so to figure out he could throw his weight into that stall guard and cause the guard to loosen. The sagging stall guard provided Rhet with a low spot in the middle not much above that lower door. Readjusting the guard was only good for about five minutes once Rhet had figured out what it took to loosen it.

Thankfully, the humans were one step ahead of the horse. The next diversionary tactic was taken by my son-in-law, Ray. He took a piece of baling twine and tied the two buckles snugly in place. Then when the horse leaned on it, the stall guard no longer gave.

Unfortunately, Rhet was not to be out done by any humans. Within a couple of hours the horse had figured out how to untie the baling twine. The first one, I thought was an accident and I retied it. Within about fifteen minutes the horse not only untied the knot on the top set of buckles but he had moved down to the second set as well. Rhet was hell bent on escape.

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

Part 2

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  1. Oh boy. These are the type of stalls that are found in SA and Zimbabwe where I come from, all the cinderblock rows with double stable doors so I found it strange to see how things were set up here. Poor Rhett I can imagine he was feeling clostraphobic (sp!) and I am hoping that this has a happy outcome.

  2. LOL, he sounds like a handful!

    Good luck at the show!!

  3. ooooh, what a naughty, naughty boy. I laugh (it wasn't me trying to keep the imp in his stall) when I see the resololution of a horse this smart.
    I can imagine your frustration, on a bunch of levels. Will he actually stay in? Will he hurt himself? Will he be in any condition to show how fantastic he is? Will you get ANY rest???
    I can't wait to hear the rest of the story!

  4. Is he smart or what? lol. You could probably teach him to do tricks, and take him to Pet Star, lol!.