Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Region 4 Championships....Big Day....Part 4

A couple of nights before Rhet's class , I had taken the colt up to the arena after
things had slowed down for the night . I wanted to check out his reactions both in the ring and on the route to the arena to see if he had issues that might require schooling before his class.

Other than being exited, the colt did pretty well on the long walk to the arena. He pranced all the way up and back from the arena. His old familiar comfort zone of being just ahead of me was where he wanted to be. The horse had to be continually reminded to stay in his box next to me but he was actually very light with the corrections. There were no attempts to drag me, he just kept forgetting his place in his excitement to explore this new world.

In the actual arena the horse looked around a bit but mostly he just wanted to smell the dirt. I decided I would let him so he could get it out of his mind. Otherwise I figured he'd be bugging Cheryl throughout the class trying to put his head down to the ground.

Once I let Rhet smell the dirt, his curiosity was satisfied. His preoccupation with the dirt was gone. Even in other parts of the arena he no longer showed any interest in sniffing the footing. The horse just walked around looking at things taking it all in. For his first time there I was pleased with his response.

The night of his class, Rhet seemed to sense the difference. I don't know if it was nerves from me or something in the air but the colt was wired. As I led him out of his stall, his tail flagged over his back and he pranced all the way to the grooming stalls at Silver Aspen.

Cheryl was already dressed waiting in the aisle. With her were the two grooms who job it was to get Rhet shining for his class. Rhet was reluctant to enter the groom room. He'd never seen one of these before and he wasn't sure what to think of all that stuff and those bare black mats. It didn't take much encouragement before he decided to go in and he actually didn't try to exit when I turned him around facing the door.

Rhet really wasn't sure what to think when the two grooms came near him and began smearing goop on his face but he tolerated it. I could tell by the look in his eye he was trying his best but the line between control and loosing it was pretty thin. I almost thought he was going to loose it when they both began spraying him with the aerosol finishing spray. I think because they both started at the same time he couldn't decided which way to he just stood there..........but his eyes said he was terrified.

When they stopped spraying and began rubbing him down, the horse settled. The hands running over his body seemed to soothe him. Then when they decided they needed more spray, the horse stiffened but his eyes were not nearly as wild. He did, however, breathe a sigh of relief when the spraying stopped.

Now it was time to wait for our call up to the staging area. The classes were not progressing as quickly as the paddock announcer had projected. It was going to be a bit of a wait until it was our time to go so I closed the door of the grooming stall on Rhet and I and we waited.........

For me there was a bit of relief in the fact the horse was ready except for removing the stable halter. That wouldn't be done until the last minute.

From before my western pleasure class that afternoon my stomach had been giving me fits. I'd made countless trips to the rest room and eaten more Pepto Bismol tablets than I cared to count. The stress causing this reaction hadn't slowed after my riding class, it had only stepped up another notch. Now, with this brief respite waiting for our time to show, I had a brief let down.

Rhet, on the other hand, was wound up tight. The closed groom room door had removed any ideas he had of leaving so now he turned his attention to his new surroundings..............and wouldn't you know it, in those surrounding was a heat!

Directly behind the groom room, I could hear this horse pushing up against the wall. Then I heard the peeing........lots of peeing. Before long Rhet had figured out was this was about and he was beginning to drop.

Now dropping at inappropriate times is not an issue I have had to deal with this horse. Frankly I was relieved it was happening at this time instead of in the ring like some yearling colts do. So Rhet and I spent our waiting time learning what "Put it away!" means.

It didn't take long for Rhet to figure out what I meant. The first time I asked, I whacked him with the end of the lead as I gave the command. His response to my intrusion was immediate......until the mare talked to him again. The second time I just warned him with my voice........and he responded appropriately. The mare, however, was calling to him even if not literally. The urge overtook him again and I corrected him just like I had initially. After that, Rhet didn't have to be warned or corrected. He got the picture and I was confident if Cheryl needed to tell the colt to "Put it away!" in the class, Rhet would respond appropriately.

Not too long after this schooling session had concluded, it was time to take Rhet up to the staging area. I walked him up to the ring and removed the stable halter. By this time my stomach was doing back flips and I'm pretty sure I was turning green. Cheryl took the horse to do a little refresher on his stand up cues and I asked if I could be excused. I was given instructions to pick him up at the out gate after the class and I headed for the nearest rest room. The next time I was to see Rhet it was entering the arena...........

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

Rhet's Class

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  1. OOOohhhh! The suspence!!!
    I totally can understand why your stomach was doing back flips. I am sure that mine would be there if I were in your shoes!!!

  2. Ooooo...this is getting EXCITING!! GREAT photo too!! He's GORGEOUS!! Can't wait to read more!! :)

  3. What a magnificent animal! And what a great command for some "ahem" amorous non-equines I have met in my life: "Put it away!"

  4. This class is turning out to be quite the education for Rhett.
    You're giving me a whole new perspective to Arabian showing.