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Re: Stallions in Endurance

In a message dated 98-05-14 04:00:00 EDT, writes:

<< Should you decide to be competitive you are in for trouble. Now I speak
 from experience. Top competition will cause you much in the way of
 problems. You will have to "RIDE EVERY HORSE AROUND YOU" . What do I mean
 by that?  The other top competitors with mares (and geldings) will crowd at
 water holes and vet checks eliciting a stallion response from your animal
 and then complain. On the trail they will ride closely to upset your horse.

Having ridden several thousand miles on stallions and a fair amount of that
competitively, must say I have never found the above to be a problem.  Once a
stallion is sufficiently seasoned to be running up front (yes, they need their
time to get a base, etc., just like every other horse out there) one pretty
well knows what his behavior is like and he has figured out that business is
business, IF you have handled him right!  While beginner stallions may need to
wait their turn at water, etc.,  until they learn their etiquette, all of my
older, seasoned stallions are quite good about sharing water barrels, etc.
with other competitors.  While there is truth in the idea that one still has
to be absolutely aware of where the other competitors' horses are and what
they are doing, it still works well to simply have a drill for keeping the
stallion's mind on you while he drinks, eats, travels alongside, or whatever.
I talk to my guys when they are crowded in company, and keep tickling the
reins while they are drinking if there is another nose right next to theirs.
I keep just a bit of leg on, so they are not sure but what there may well be a
cue to sidepass or move in some other fashion coming momentarily.  (BTW--this
works well when riding geldings and mares, too, as someone stated very well in
one of the kicking posts.)  I have frequently ridden 30 or 40 miles alongside
someone who I thought already knew I was on a stallion, only to have them
exclaim that they had NO IDEA that my well-behaved mount is a stallion when
the subject comes up in conversation.  AND--that's the way it should be!  I
have always said that there are only two reasons why you should ever know that
there is a stallion on the ride--one is that someone told you he was a
stallion, and the other is that you noticed he has testicles.  If the HORSE
tells you he is a stallion, either he or his rider needs to go back to basic

We have had a bit of a challenge with our new stallion, Aur Bold Tribute, as
he was 15 years old when we got him last spring and had spent the previous 8
years living in a box stall and breeding mares.  His first few trips into
public were embarrassingly noisy, but he as worked through that and is now a
gentleman.  So far this year he has Top Tenned 2 50's (approx. 40 riders on
one, 61 on the other), earned BC on one and was runner-up for BC on the other,
and has run 12th out of 31 on his first 75.  On the ride where he was BC, he
was 7th, nosed out 8th at the finish, and was only 11 minutes behind the
winner.  Is that competitive enough to count?  My point here is that education
works, even when one does not have the opportunity to train them right from
the start.  Folks who saw him when he was learning last summer don't realize
he is the same horse this year until we tell them.  (BTW--even before he was
fit, I realized that he needed "Ride Camp 101"--another use for LD rides--he
did two of 'em to help educate his mind, and did that on purpose when 30 miles
was still a stretch for him and made him tired.  He went on after that with
most of the stallion behavior bugs worked out, and Top Tenned two 50's last
summer and fall, too--not quite as well-mannered as he is now, but a big
improvement over his beginnings!  Was still at the stage last fall, though,
where it payed to take one's turn at the water tanks.)

Heidi Smith, DVM--Sagehill Arabians (Oregon)
Over 2000 miles apiece on Surrabu and Abu Ben Surrabu, and beginning careers
on Aur Bold Tribute and Lawzonn

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