Sunday, February 21, 2016

The Dreaded Measuring Stick

We have a "stick" for measuring horse's height.  It resembles those things that they have in a doctors office or school -- a tall vertical stick with a horizontal piece at the top that they rest on top of your head. The horse version has the same horizontal piece but you rest it on top of the withers instead of on top of the head.  None of our horses like the contraption.  There is something about putting a big stick next to them with a pointy top piece jutting across to their withers that just freaks them out.

Tex is no exception.

I worked with him a bit this afternoon.  I didn't ride; we just worked on grooming and bonding.  I told Brett that my goal with Tex is to achieve harmony and I want that solid on the ground first.  He was stellar at the tie rail (ground tied) for grooming.  I tried a different saddle pad with my western saddle and it worked much better.  Then I walked him around and let him munch on the grass.

Brett found the measuring stick in the barn and brought it out.  We've been curious about how tall he is; he feels huge.  Tex was fine until I extended the stick and flipped out the top part.  Then he was in constant motion, avoiding the stick at all costs, but not pulling on me.  He circled around me - and I let him.  I gradually made the circle smaller and asked him to sniff the stick.  He was okay with a good sniff but didn't want me near his withers with the thing.

I stuck with it; I stuck with him.  I didn't get mad or push it.  I just stayed.  Eventually, he realized it wasn't going away and it wasn't going to eat him.  I was able to measure him.  He's a smidge over 16h.  Most quarter horses are in the 15h range so he's a tall specimen for his breed.

Brett put the stick away and we continued grazing around and just hanging out together.  We've really come a long way, Tex and me.  I can groom him all over his body; today I even brushed his forelock. I can rub his forehead and his neck on the right side.  He's still not sure about the kissing business but that will come.

4 comments:

  1. I've never understood what's so scary about the stick, but it seems like most horses have that reaction!

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  2. You are just what Tex needs. I've finally learned that not only is groundwork important- it's critical

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  3. The kissing is a must! ;) I've always suspected, but now am positive, that horses are highly emotional beings. I'm sure your relational work with Tex is building a partnership. He is a tall guy!! How do you get the saddle up there?

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