Friday, August 7, 2009

The Region 4 Championships....Big Day....Part 3

The paddock announcer had been calling all day horses all halter horses needed to be in the appointed staging area when called. Any horses not appearing in that staging area at the appointed time would not be allowed to enter the ring.

We'd didn't want to take any chances on being late because of the distance of our stalls from the show arena so Cheryl Fletcher and I had decided ahead of time that I'd take Rhet up to the Silver Aspen stalls for his final grooming. From there it would be much closer for her to take him to the staging area where the halter horses are put into order according to their age.

I'd got his feet polished early so that part would already be done. The horse stood quietly while the polish dried and even tolerated the spray on enhancer pretty well. At least the first part of this process was going smoothly.

When the class call came that marked the time to take Rhet up to the Silver Aspen stalls, I grabbed the show halter and Jessica and headed for Rhet's stall. Since the colt had broken my nose, I'd only put the show halter on once to make sure it fit. It had nearly taken an act of God to get that halter in place.

The good thing about it was I'd had time to form a plan. I knew I needed to get the show halter on before any kind of oil or grease was applied to the horse's face. Once that was done, the colt would be too slippery to ever get the show halter on.

I entered the stall with the stable halter in hand. Rhet promptly headed for the back wall throwing his head up into the air. He even thought about turning his butt towards me but quickly discarded that notion just looking at the determination on my face.

Jessica stayed outside with the show halter and it's various parts waiting for me to catch the colt. I had to put my arm around Rhet's neck to even get a shot at putting the stable halter on his face. Once the nose band was in place, he relaxed just a bit and dropped his head only to throw it up again as I flopped the crown piece over his poll. Rhet wasn't going to make anything about this easy that was for sure.

With the stable halter finally on the colt's head I had Jessica enter the stall. I had her hold Rhet while I worked at getting the show halter on over the top of the stable halter.

I took the dismantled show halter putting my left hand through the hole formed by the nose band, through the throat latch and out underneath the poll portion. With the halter resting on my arm, I grabbed the colt's nose with my left hand and gave him a minute to think about things before I tried moving the show halter up into place.

Rhet relaxed just a minute and I took advantage moving the show halter up his face. When I reached the horse's ears he threw himself backwards into the wall. I gripped his nose harder and went with him watching carefully in case the colt flung his head. I didn't want to get hit in the face again, my nose was already green and very very sore.

Rhet attempted to throw his head into the wall. I countered with more pressure on his nose. He threw his head higher in the air but I just followed him up pushing that halter over his ears.

Of course, it went too far was was resting a half dozen inches down his neck. I waited for the colt to settle before I tried adjusting the position knowing he'd be defensive about any movement towards his poll.

Jessica and I both talked to him and stroked him with that halter resting in the odd position. When the horse finally let down, I quickly bumped the halter into place. Immediately the horse flung his head straight up in the air but the halter's position held and we were ready to assemble the thing right on his face.

First Jessica handed me the chain. I threaded it carefully though the rings making sure I didn't shift the position of the show halter. Once that was done, I attached the lead capturing the chain. (A captured chain is one that is caught in the middle through the lead which prevents the chain from resting on the underside of the jawline.)

With the show halter assembled on Rhet's face, it was time to take the stable halter out from underneath it. I undid the buckle of the stable halter. Then very carefully I slide the crown piece out from underneath the crown of the show halter. It was important not to disturb the position of the show halter. I didn't want the colt anymore frazzled than he already was.

From there Jessica helped me slide the stable halter down the colt's face. The thin thread throat latch of the show halter wanted to grab the stable halter. We carefully maneuvered through without breaking that thread. Then we had to thread the lead on the stable halter between the horse's jawline and the captured chain on the show halter.

When the stable halter was finally free both Jessica and I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. Since I didn't know what to expect from Rhet on the way to the ring I put the stable halter on over the top of the show halter. I wasn't taking any chances getting this colt up to the ring.......I was using all the reinforcements I could think of to make sure we got there on time.

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

Big Day Part 4

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  1. Wow! What a project Rhet makes of just the show halter! How nice it will be when he realizes it won't kill him. It already sounds like he is coming around, in his wise choice to not threaten you with his hind end.
    I can't wait to hear how he did!

  2. I think Rhet needs a few months in the field with others of his own kind and grow up a horse already.

  3. Jeanette, anything having to do with touching his poll results in a major battle. I'm afraid it's going to be a long slow process getting the horse over this.

    deejbrown, I can see why you'd think that but the fact is this horse had time out in the field with other horses right from his birth. These issues have nothing to do with his socialization with other horses.

    This kind of extreme defensiveness over the poll seems to be associated with certain pedigrees. Rhet does carry a couple of the lines known for such behavior.

    I'm told by another breeder who has raised several of these types of horses it can take a couple of years to work through these issues. At the rate that Rhet is progressing, I'd say a couple of years will be right around how long it's going to get through them with him too.

  4. Longsuffering patience is the best avenue to build trust in some horses. To them their fear or phobia is VERY real, even if we find it silly. I was once owned by a horse with what I viewed as irrational fears. I came to see that it didn't matter how irrational I felt the issue was. It simply was an issue to overcome, we had to. The alternative was not an option.
    I'm glad Rhet has you. I expect you will be an amazing team.

  5. Rhet sure is making you work hard!

  6. Thanks for the education about the breed; I did not know that defensiveness around a particular part of a horse's body could be genetic. Please keep yourself safe as you and he come to understand each other. He is a magnificent animal.

  7. well done... every victory counts
    take care and good luck