20 April 2009

Razz--Not Quite a Rescue, but Close

In May of 2005 I agreed to go along with a friend who wanted to see a purebred Arab gelding that needed a "good home." One guess who ended up with a new horse.

The horse was living with an old mare in an enclosure that included automobile carcasses and hogwire--some up, some down, some with sharp points. The owners were caring people who'd received him as a gift when he was a yearling. They'd even laid out over two thousand dollars to repair him when he'd punctured a knee in 2004, but caring doesn't make people horsemen. Luckily, they recognized they were not up to dealing with Razz. In fact, they said he was almost impossible to catch, or lead, or even hold onto.

I found that out right away. It took the owner quite a while just to snap a lead onto Razz's outgrown halter, and when I took the lead rope he jerked free so fast I ended up face down in deep, fluffy manure. Most people would have said, "Crazy Arab" and left. But his eyes told me he was basically kind and intelligent and willing to learn.

His registration papers backed up that. Razz, registered as Sunsaba, was in fact line-bred to *Witez with a bit of Bay Abi thrown in as well--good working stock.

So, a few days later, Razz, then six, arrived at my place totally untrained and completely without manners. Luckily, he proved to be a quick learner.

Within a month, the horse that wouldn't let anyone lead him much less pick up his feet was much more amenable to working with people.

By August, he was already on his third month under saddle.

And Lion had found a playmate that also liked to run--summer, winter, whenever.

Razz's still not a beginner's horse, but he's more than kind and he tries to be tolerant. In fact, he'll stand like a statue to be mounted, but once up, his rider needs a quiet seat or he'll still become tense and confused.

Here's one of my favorite photos of Razz. By June of 2008, a couple of my teenage students were developing those nice quiet seats. When Erica dismounted, she said, "That was actually fun." I already knew that from Razz's attentive ear position. We're seeing relaxed trust more and more often from him now.

In fact, the horse that used to be nearly impossible to catch is now nearly impossible to get rid of. Here's one last shot of him "helping" my husband clean stock tanks:

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