The Stallion Xampu

In Horse-Chat basics I mentioned I had two Lusitano Stallions. Here is a story about one of them. Some of our horse-chat topics are light hearted but this one is kind of serious. But the story has a good ending.

Meet Xampu... (pronounced zampu)
Breed: Lusitano
Age" 2003
Color: Gray
Height: 15-3 hands
weight: #1100
Job: dressage

Xampu came to us ......
from Brazil in 2008. I purchased him at a Lusitano auction that was held in Florida.

Xampu is going to help me relate this story about a-cast-horse since he is the one that put us through this difficult ordeal...

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It was a beautiful.. unseasonably warm November day. I had let my stallion Xampu out to his paddock. I was grooming Xantel, my other Lusitano stallion, in the cross ties right around the corner of the barn from Xampu. I can’t trust them alone for too long in the paddock. They are young and get bored easily. When they are bored they look for ways to entertain themselves. Pulling their splint boots off and throwing them up in the air is one such method of entertainment. But this morning Xampu was acting pretty quiet.

I finished tacking up Xantel... and I was just cleaning up the cross ties when, peeking around the corner to the paddock, I did not see Xampu! I had left his stall door open so he could get to his water. The fresh shavings in his stall must have been very inviting because he decide to role in them, instead of outside, where he had all the room in the world. How he did it I can’t imagine, but he managed to get stuck up against the wall.

As I approached.. trying not to run he started flailing around trying to get himself extricated. I could see this was not going to happen. He could not turn over and he could not straighten out his hind end. I talked to him quietly and soothed him so he would lay still while I thought things over. I had only had the stallion a few months so we were still getting to know each other. I did not know how much he would trust me. I crouched beside him patting his neck and staying away from his feet.

He laid his head back, relaxed his muscles and his eyes softened in a look of resignation. I must say he didn't look so tough at that moment.

I asked my assistant.. to bring me some rope that I keep handy for this cast-horse situation. I looped it carefully around the hoof closest to the ground. Then I carefully put the rest of the rope behind his back. Now the problem was how to get into the stall! I would have to step over his head without having him get scared and start thrashing. I talked quietly and soothed him and ..gingerly stepped over his head and into the stall. The next task was to loop the rope around his hind leg... without getting kicked!

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I patted him on the hip.. and rubbed him with the other rope. When I felt him relax and soften his eyes I carefully fitted the rope around his back hoof. I stood in the opposite corner of the stall and holding the ropes in both hands I took up the slack and started pulling and clucking to encourage him to help. My goal was to help him role over so that he would have room to stand up. I tugged for a bit but I did not have the strength to do it alone.

I did not want my assistant.. to be in the stall as it was a dangerous position to be in. Horses need a lot of room to role over and stand up. But there was no other way. He joined me in the corner as I kept Xampu quiet. Together on the count of three we pulled on the ropes, swinging his legs over is body and rolling Xanpu to his other side. Immediately he jumped up on to his feet.

My assistant and I.. were making ourselves as tiny as possible in the corner trying to avoid his feet and body. As he lifted his hind end up and swung around he missed us by a hair, but I could tell that he was trying to respect our space. As little of it as there was! Xampu ran out of the stall and was upset by the ropes around his feet. But talking to him gently I calmed him and he stood there while I undid the ropes.

Xampu is no gentle lamb. He is a stallion that tests me every day. As I took the ropes off and gave him a pat he “looked at me”. His eyes had a strange depth to them and instead of trying to bite at me (our usual argument) he nuzzled me gently and stood very still. I looked back into his eyes and I must say it was one of those “moments”. Hard to describe and recount because it is so fleeting and so sensorial that you only remember it in your gut. We called a truce him and I for a few minutes. Our arguments weren’t quite as intense from that day on. I don’t really think he accepted me as “the dominant mare” but I did climb up on the ladder of his pecking order. Now we just both agree to politely disagree. But that is a horse-chat story for a different day.

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