On Sunday, I finally got over to the neighbor's for a team penning practice. As much as I would like to work cattle, I am so hesitant to do much sorting. Outside of getting to see cattle, it's difficult to really get the kind of work done on a horse that I want to do. I'm not putting the sport down, but it's fairly ineffective for 'training' purposes. I did think it would be a good thing for Moon, just to have to go hang out, go in and out of an arena, through gates and do something different than barrels. I told the partners that I drew that I wasn't going for number of cattle or time and they were cool with that.
It was a good workout for Moon and he had to pull his 'working horse' mentality out and relearn some patience. It was good gate practice for too. The first couple of times, he wanted to duck away and then charge through, but they gave me time to work him through it and then just quietly trot in, stop, roll-back, walk out, walk back up, stop, walk through. By the 3rd go, Moon stopped his non-sense and was walking quietly up to and through the gate. Ears up and with a happy expression (well, at least it was Moon's happy expression. ;-) This was so good for his brain!! We kept our work fairly slow and I tried to use as much skill as I could in that kind of setting to put Moon in the proper position to move the cows and then track them out. The 3rd go we got all 10 head through in less than a minute.
To give Moon that kudos that I often forget to give him...Several people commented on what a nice horse he was and how well he works. Good job Moon!! Personally, I thought he still felt a little chargy...but compared to some of the horses there....He looked like a professional!
And just because it made me giggle to do so...and because I can be an ass sometimes...
There was a 'trainer-type' there who was trying to show off his training skills in the off side of the arena...he was attempting to do fast backing (but his horse's front feet kept getting stuck)...
And then he's try to get them to turn around real fast (but their front feet were stuck!, so it was their butts that moved)...
And then he was trying for spins (and the horses were spinning their whole bodies)...
Don't get me wrong...I have no issue with someone who is trying to train a horse to do something, but this guy was all, Hard And Fast, Kick And Pull. He was pushing his horses to do maneuvers they were obviously not prepared to do correctly, much less with any speed. He wasn't violent, just obnoxious and I felt bad for his horses. He annoyed me mostly because he was coaching other people to do the same thing. (eyeroll)...The blind leading the blind in this case. Don't get me wrong, this wasn't a bad bunch of people. Some of them were just a little over-mounted. There was some nice horses there. It's just that so many people enjoy doing these sorting/penning sports and even in practice they never slow down. All their horses know is go, go, go and then they can't figure out why they can't get them to whoa, whoa, whoa. ;-)
So I watched the 'trainer-type' guy doing his thing and then eased Moon down there, on the pretense I just wanted him to move around a little before our 'go'. I did a few warm-up maneuvers and within a couple of minutes had him sticking his butt in the ground, rocking back and rolling through his turns, jumping out, sticking his butt and rolling back the other way. Then I let him settle and walked him into a reining horse spin to the left, then to the right. (snicker)...Of course, I 'pretended' like I was just doing a little schooling on him, picking him up here and there and making sure he was really correct, but one thing about Moon, when he's set up, the horse can flat turn around. :-)
I heard the gasps from some of the other riders and saw Mr. Horse Trainer guy watching out of the corner of his eye...then he went and sat by the fence again. No more showing off. LMFAO...HE is the one who got schooled that night. (giggle). That was the 3rd go when we got all of our cattle sorted in under a minute. Maybe showing off a little helped get Moon ready? (more giggling)
The best part of the whole deal was when I stopped to visit with the neighbor when I was leaving and asked him if there was any way I could use his cattle during the week to do a little light cutting work and some fence work. I was expecting a 'Sorry, but I don't want to wear the cattle out.', but he said, 'Suuurrreee.' Like it was no big deal to let someone come in and work his cattle. Sheezzz...everybody else I have talked to is afraid I will ruin their cattle...and most of the other sorting places use burned out old rope steers, who either won't move or just take off flying. This guy has nice, beef-type calves and they are soft moving and easy turning. PERFECT!! for the kind of work I want to do.
And I don't even have to load up and haul anywhere. He lives 2 doors down. :-). I'm so excited!!
That means I can start ponying Shooter and Little John down there with me and they can get used to cattle and graduate out of the round pen. They are both ready for that. Once they are riding pretty good in the big arena, we'll graduate to cows. Shooter will be fine with them, but I'm pretty sure Little John has never seen a cow in his life. My instincts tell me once he realizes he can move them around...he's going to take to working cows like a duck to water. He sure wants to work the dog and cat here at home. LOL
Arizona treats me so good!!
Arizona treats me so good!!