For those of us with stallions it’s that time of year to be thinking about advertising. Last year, I took a risk and advertised in the Rocky Mountain Rider for JB. It is supposed to be one of the few marketing horse publications that is for “all-breeds” but it doesn’t take long to see that the majority of it is Quarter Horses. There are a few gaited breeds that advertise and a few Morgans, Arabians, but mostly Quarter Horses. I knew in the back of my mind that it would be an uphill battle competing for mares against all the fancy sliding stop reining Quarter Horse stallions that advertise in that publication, but , I did it just the same, thinking atleast it might get him some visibility in the marketplace. To my surprise, it did generate a few calls, but no actual solid bookings transpired from it. I did get a number of calls from people wanting me to buy their mustang mares, which ofcourse I politely turned down. I half wondered if there was an editing goof in my ad that I missed that was reading “Wanted: mares to buy” !?! Maybe one just assumes that since I have a stallion, I most certainly am in the market for mares!! I even got a few calls from people just wanting to ask questions about what a Barb was and how I found him and some people just called to tell me what a handsome guy he was. I appreciated those calls and like any proud mom, I gloated… but just a little !
So, what does all this have anything to do with the Green Hulk Halter? I am getting there I promise....
Since I advertised last year, I have been getting inundated with marketing attempts by RMR to advertise again, I will tell you if you want a good penpal, advertise with them. I have decided not to advertise JB for breeding services this year at all, as much as RMR has tried to reel me with their great rates for 2009/2010, I have decided to forego the advertising. Mostly because the market is in the tank and like last year, I will focus his energy on his endurance conditioning. The fact that I don't have a breeding program and I am not advertising for breeding might lead one to ask, "why keep him a stud?" , a question that I find myself considering carefully but at this time he will remain in tact.
On that subject of him remaining a stallion without a breeding program in place, I have even been told by a few folks that I should geld him because people who own stallions should arrange things so that their stallion breeds atleast once during a breeding season and that to make him go through a season without breeding is cruel and that it's bad for stallion and his frame of mind …. Uh hem ,.. to hold all that in…. or something along those lines??? ….
Well, I don’t know how true any of that is but I guess I am willing to risk being ridiculed as an irresponsible Stallion owner in some eyes I guess. Personally, I think it's a bit over the top because quite frankly, JB doesn't seem to know the difference and he certainly isn’t acting any different…In fact, people are usually very complimentary of his behaviour out in public, if they even realize he is a stallion.
So, if I am not breeding him regularly to keep his metal state in check, why is it that I can pretty much treat him like just another gelding? Maybe , just maybe, it has something to do with some policies we have in place.
Enter Stage Right: The Incredible Hulk Halter
I figured out sometime ago that horses are pretty specific animals. When I worked on a big Arabian breeding farm growing up in CT, every stallion had two sets of halters. One for regular work /training or turn out and one for breeding. The studs got to know the difference pretty quick as you might imagine. I instilled this policy when JB was young and had his first date. From the first time he covered a mare, he got his very own breeding halter. His regular everyday “work” halter is a black rope halter. For his breeding halter, I chose the loudest, brightest color of rope that I could find, which happened to also be on sale at the time. It was a bright neon green. I realized after the fact that horses can’t see green but no one has been able to confirm that with neon colors. We kept the halter just the same and JB does seem to know the difference. The name the “ Incredible Hulk Halter” came about in part because of the color and the fact that JB does appear to suddenly transform into the horse version of the adrenaline super power when he slips on his Neon Green Halter.
So, the green halter stays quietly waiting in a safe place until required. Otherwise, it's plain old black, and with that just another day of work for JB.