Thursday, July 3, 2008

The 15 Foot Rope

First, I apologize for the huge delay in posting. Between horse shows, barn work, home improvements etc... I have had no time to sit and just write. My thoughts have been scattered and I have been unable to put words to paper.

Argo is doing great and we are making wonderful progress. I will post details of it in the days to come.

Some people have asked why he has the 15 ft. lead rope attached to his halter. I thought I would try my best to give reasons to this and my observations of the absolute necessity of it. If anyone has more to add to the benefits please feel free to post in the comments.

When I was first told I would need a rope on him, I assumed a mere catch rope like I put on for my weanlings. Four to six feet usually suffices and this helps to teach them to give to poll pressure without getting them in trouble and getting themselves hurt. Have you ever tried to hold back a yearling that is adamant that he or she is going to go where they want and you can either come along for the ride or just sit in the dust? I did years ago, and I learned then the value of a catch rope. By stepping on it while doing their own thing, they learn to not have hissy fits and panic attacks when faced with the pressure of a halter. The catch rope is a very useful tool.

When the BLM told me the rope needed to be 12-15 ft long, I did question their wisdom as to the length. My first thought was what if he wraps it around two legs and falls? What if he somehow gets it caught around the panel in the pen? What if it wraps around a tree? And the questions went on through my mind. The BLM did insist that it must be a cotton lead and not a poly type lead and because they have done this much longer than anyone, I went with it. Hence the 15 ft cotton lead Argo now finds attached to his halter.

Why is it still on? This has been asked a few times now. I cannot tell you how invaluable this rope will be in years to come with Argo. I will list the accomplishments Argo has made with his rope.

1. Learned poll pressure from stepping on the rope several hundred times now. At first he jumped at the pressure, and now it is “old hat” to him. He just sighs and takes his foot off the lead and tosses his head to get the rope out from under him.

2. Dragging something heavy behind him. Have you ever felt what a 15 ft. cotton rope feels like when it is soaked through from rain and mud? Argo has and I am sure he would tell you it is like dragging around four concrete blocks.

3. Desensitized on all four legs. Argo has managed to wrap that rope around them one at a time and all at the same time. Again, he calmly sighs now and extracts himself from it. I am sure if he ever were to get caught in a fence he would not panic and make his legs look like they have gone through a meat grinder.

4. Cinch and saddle tightening. This one had me in stitches actually. Argo had rolled and when he got up he found the rope wrapped around his barrel almost where a cinch would be. Of course this resulted in a bucking fit for about a minute. What amazed me with him was how quickly he assessed the situation and corrected it. He stood there looking at his barrel and I could see the wheels turning in his head. He actually thought back to how the dang rope had gotten there in the first place and he got down and rolled until he was satisfied it was off of him. This rope has also been across his rump as well and his reaction has been a calm swish of his tail to remove it. He amazes me as to how quickly he can assess a situation and make a decision that 99% of the time has been the correct one.

5. A play toy. Argo has become quite enamored with his rope. There have been a few times I have caught him carrying his rope around in his mouth. When he realizes I am watching him he quickly drops it out of his mouth as if to say “That is beneath me! You didn’t just see that. It was only a figment of your imagination.”

Argo’s long lead rope has been quite the educational tool. He would never have been able to learn so much with just a four foot rope. I must also make it clear; his rope is not meant to “catch” him. I’m not sure when it will come off, but we get closer to its removal each day.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your site has won a Blog of the Day Award (BOTDA)

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Bill Austin