Showing a stallion in pleasure class
I am in the process of purchasing an Appaloosa stallion who has competed in Halter and WP. He is a very laid back guy and on the farm if he shows interest in a mare, a quick "That's enough!" and a snap of the rope training halter does the trick of refocusing his attention on me. I have been working with him on the ground the last few days and putting a 'touch stone' as I call it on him, of move hip to rt, move hip to lft, then back, as a little attention getter that I put on all my horses. I also use a flex rt/lft while stepping around as a 'touch stone' for a nervous horse, to refocus their mind while riding.
But I am wondering how in the world you deal with riding in a WP class, with mares, geldings etc. Does any body have any suggestions that will help him stay focused on his job while in the ring. BTW I have no idea what he is like at a show, although he has done very well in the ring, but was shown by his trainer.
Also what should I do with him between classes? I am also taking my gelding, who ties very well to the trailer. Should I keep him in the trailer or risk tying him on the other side if I can park away from the crowd? The show I'm taking him to first is a small schooling show with a stallion halter class that takes place in the cool of the evening. I will have other people there to help me.
A stallion, when under saddle, shouldn't care if it's a mare, or gelding or another stallion, he is supposed to listen to you. I showed a breeding stallion in many pleasure classes & various other rail classes, I've had mares drop and squat & pee in front of him, we went around, he was trained when to bred and when he was under saddle, he knew that was NOT breeding time. We have had mares attack us on more than one occassion, fortunately he was really good at jumping out of the way, he saved us. I worked a lot with this stallion on his manners at his home. The owner lived in a rural, full of horse properties area. I would ride him down the gravel road with a halter and leadrope and have all sorts of mares teasing him at the fenceline, he never spoke to them or he was corrected, he would look but no talking and keep on walking, he knew his job. If you don't have this kind of control on a stallion, don't take him in any classes with other horses, you could endanger yourself & others.
The studs that I see at the shows are very well handled and behave very nicely. I have seen people shove vicks up their noses though so they can't smell the mares...
Waresbear, Just to be clear what methods to you use to correct undesirable behavior in a stallion, for instance talking to the mares and you are walking past? I have been studying everything I can get hold of including my daughters vet school textbooks, and they all mention 'correction'. What, in your opinion is an appropriate 'correction'? Understand that this guy is 6yrs old, previously handled by professionals, but recently due to bereavement is being handled by the broker handling the dispersal. I am not sure of this person's experience with stallions, but so far appears to be quite sensible. When he started talking to the mares on the walker, she did as I described above. Snapped the lead (he has always been handled at home in a rope training halter) and said ENOUGH. He immediately behaved himself. Everything I have been learning explains it is a psychological game of asserting authority over the stallion. Can you give me some examples of how to achieve this? I do understand that to those of you who have handled stallions for years will think these are stupid questions, but as far as I'm aware most of us weren't born knowing this stuff, and at some stage was taught it or learned it from others. And you can be absolutely assured I'm not going to load this guy up and bring him home or to a show and screw around with either my own safety or anyone else's! That's why I'm asking questions on a forum, that sometimes I have picked up some very good information from.
Rieninginga, I would park away from the others and tie him on the other side of the trailer until you know exactly how he will act.
Keep distance between you and any horse just in case you have to correct him you have room.
Sounds as if he will not be a problem. Just be prepared for anything and you will be OK. Good luck. Shalom
Park away from people and tie him. If he gets along with the gelding, you can stay on the same side, if not, use the opposite side.
When he's under saddle, he should be focused on you. If he's not, don't take him to a show until he is working well at home and listening to you.
And keep Vicks Vapor Rub with you while hauling to new places. Put a hefty amount in his nose when you get there and before your classes. If he's calm at shows, you may not need it.
Keep him away from other horses. Stand back a little ways from others as you go into your class until you know how he will behave.
And always keep your guard up and on high alert. Take precautions.
And I also recommend printing off a flyer of his information for you to take with you. Once people find out he's a stallion, they'll be asking about him and it's nice to be prepared with pedigree information, breeding information, your contact information etc... ;-) Friends of mine took their stallion to 2 shows this past weekend, and we had at least 5 people ask about him, each day!
I know for special situations during stalling or standing, the trainer who had my baby's stud had a special belt that went around the stallion's flank with a bristle that would poke his erection if he had one. I don't know what they're called, but if you're going to be stalling overnight for a show in the future it might be a wise investment.
I would also consider using a chain on the leadrope. Only use it when you have to, and don't overdo it. But with stallions you need to have a little extra power to put them in their place. A hard bite once is a lot better than nagging with several soft bites.
You sound very responsible. Also keep in mind, a stallion is first & foremost a breeding animal, don't ever let your guard down, as I said before, your stallion maybe under control but other horses (mares) can violently attack him and you could be seriously hurt in the crossfire. A correction is like anything, start off light, like a voice reprimand, and if the behaviour continues, meaning he repeats the behaviour either immediately or the next day, then it's a smack. The intensity has to fit the crime, lets say a week later your stallion barely nickers at a mare, I would growl and give a smack, if it was a big stallion scream, he would get it good & hard. Another tip, he drops around other horses, do not punish the penis, punish the behavior, like if he dancing around, showing interest towards the horse BUT if he just drops and goes about his business & listens to you, ignore it, he will suck it back up on his own & probably will be less likely to drop in the future. This is a tip I gave to a gal very experienced in handling & exhibiting stallions, she finally took my advice and thanked me a few months down the road. Handling stallions makes one a very conscientous horseperson, you have to be careful in public, no relaxing & letting your guard down. Once the stallion has proven to you beyond a doubt that he will respect his training & you and other horses are just other horses, then he is ready to go out in public.
The thing with a stud is that they should be expected to behave like a regular horse, except with even better manners, with no exceptions. They should never be allowed to hollar at another horse, pay attention to another horse, drop, be pushy, etc. I don't care if they are under saddle, being shown in hand, or are tied up at the trailer. Taking him by himself might be easier so he won't have something to be territorial over or to be attached to. You will have to find your own method of correcting him - we can't tell you any exact way to do it, every body has their own method. But whatever you do, be firm, be consistent, and when he corrects himself, reward him - not with treats, but with releasing whatever pressure you were putting on him.
At the same time, don't put him in a bad situation. Don't put him next to a mare in heat, don't put him in the center of a big group of horses - stand a few feet away. Know where you are in the arena so you can have an escape route and know how he responds to you and your corrections.
As you can tell I have been around quite a few studs. My family bred for years, now my brother is doing the same but on a smaller basis. Our studs have usually been the best mannered horses on the property because we demand it of them, more so than any other horse because they, more so than other horses, can be so dangerous if not properly handled. If it is engrained into them, though, they can be some of the best horses you have ever owned. One of you best studs (production wise) was also one of our best HORSES - in the show ring, and also to teach beginnners to ride, both at home and away from home. One of those rare beginner/kind soles that no body would believe was a stud, and if they looked, didn't care at a show that a 13 and under was showing because you would never know.
Good luck with this one but be careful as well, and get help from someone experienced with studs if needed.
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