What an awesome couple of days...I had a total blast with Cindy D. at the Stock Horse clinic. And I was way impressed by Frosty.
I hate to tell you guys this...But I got a video of Cindy D. working the flag and that is it (hopefully she will post it because she did good!!). We didn't remember to take a single picture together. :-(.
Well, you know how it is when you are having fun and learning lots right?...I mean pulling out the phone (or holding a camera) just doesn't cross your mind like you think it will. I really do wished I had a little video of Frosty working his cow though. The big, lazy, buckskin impressed me.
Can't run?....Oh, Frosty can run....Now I know that he just needs something to focus on so the speeds he can get up to doesn't intimidate him. I've always known that tracking a cow down the fence is good for that, I just haven't been able to get Frosty into that kind of a situation til now. But believe me, I'll be hunting someplace to take him to now where I can spend some serious time working this horse on cattle.
The clinician was a trainer out of New Mexico named Troy Rogers. I thoroughly enjoyed watching him work and he really helped clean up my cues. He started the clinic out with the usual 'getting control of the body parts' and noted that when I was cuing for the right turnaround, I was good, but when I was cuing for the left turnaround I wasn't turning my left toe out, I was sort of sliding my foot back and poking Frosty just in front of the back cinch. Ah-hah! That's why my horses have such good right hand turns and not such good left hand turns. I mean, Frosty is decidedly stiffer on his right shoulder and in his right rib than his left and he needs a lot of counter-arcing when he starts letting that shoulder and ribcage hang to the outside of his turns, but once I started remembering to turn my toe out when I asked for the left hand turnaround (and got after him with some counter-arcing), he started coming around much better.
Must remember to turn that toe o.u.t.!!!!
Then we worked on lope departures and Troy emphasized the need to really push the hip in before asking for the lope departure. Then we loped some circles...big, faster circles and small, slower circles. I was having some problems getting Frosty to maintain a lope and Troy noted that I was 'over-bridling' Frosty. I have really been working on getting Frosty gathered up and traveling with some collection, but I've gotten a little too focused on keeping him collected up and he's not really physically ready for that. Instead of fighting his head, he just falls out of the lope behind. Okay...Got it! Yes, I need to continue to work on rhythm and cadence, but I need to remember to let Frosty travel out and only gather him back up if he really loses his frame. I worked on it a little when they broke for lunch and sure enough, if I just relaxed and let Frosty travel in a little freer frame, still correct, but not as collected, he maintained a nice lope and I was able to get some speed differentiation. Nice!!
When we broke for lunch, I took Frosty back over to the trailer for a drink of water and his own bite to eat and found Moon a lathered up mess. Someone was freaking out at being left at the trailer. It's not normal for Moon to be the one left the trailer for any length of time and he was not happy about it. Don't you know Moon is the center of the universe? LOL. Meh...It's good for him. I got them water, moved them to the shady side of the trailer, put up their hay bags and he mellowed out. He wasn't happy when I took Frosty away again, but finally settled down and got his broke horse brain back. Sheez! What an attention hog!
After lunch we worked the 'flag a little and Frosty and I was struggling with that. I was getting a little heavy handed with him and he was struggling to come back to the right. He's a bit stiff in that side of his poll and since I was using a curb bit on him, he wasn't really getting enough direction. Troy suggested putting him back in a snaffle and I agreed. Frosty isn't really 'broke' enough to do more intricate work in a curb bit yet. I switched out to a snaffle and pretended that I was working the 'flag' at the other end of the arena and he was much better.
When we went to work our cow, he worked awesome. Set, came back and really tried to flow through his turns. It took just a little bit before he locked onto his cow, but when he did, I was impressed. There is nothing in the world like boxing a cow to lighten up a horse's feet and get them flowing through turns. I asked Troy if I could take the cow down the fence because I wanted to see what Frosty would do. He's only ever tracked after a cow like that a couple of times and he is actually quite timid about cattle. He doesn't really want to encroach in their space. LOL. He was hesitant the first couple of times we started the cow down the fence, he didn't want to get in there and get close, but after the cow cut back across the arena a couple of times, I really asked him to get in there and stay with the cow. The 3rd time coming around the end of the arena, Frosty leaped into position and held the cow on the fence.
It was cool! And I finally have my answer...The big, lazy, buckskin can run if he actually wants to. He held his own and stuck right with that cow and it was flying back toward the others. I bobbled at the end though. I was so happy that Frosty had stuck that cow on the fence that when we got to the other end, instead of sitting him down and taking him off the cow, I let him just fade off away from it and then sit him down. Oops!! ;-).
That was pretty much the end of it for us. Some of the other's worked on some trail obstacles, but I have those at home and I wasn't going to be at the show the next day, so I didn't see any need to hang around for that. CutNJump had already left, so Cindy D. and I said our goodbyes and I headed for home.
I really, really enjoyed going to the clinic and enjoyed the ride that Cindy D. and I took in the desert on Friday. I think we need to hang out whenever we can. :-). She'll have to put up with at least one more visit from me though because, we totally forgot to load the barrels she got for me. She mentioned them when we were parting and I was like, 'Huh?'...I had totally spaced them off. LOL.
All in all, it was a great clinic for me. I need those kinds of refresher courses (probably more often than not). When you ride alone as much as I do, it's easy to get a little lax and/or pick up some less than ideal habits and it's nice when someone can push you to tighten things up, ask for that little extra correctness and get that little extra snap out of you as a rider. And every single thing we worked on today translates just as effectively to barrel racing. Moon would have benefited greatly from participating in this clinic, but when I find a place where I can work some cattle, I'll get him on them asap. It was just more important to get Frosty out there and get a feel for where he's at and he's a lot better horse than I have been giving him credit. Yes, he's lazy and yes, he's kinda slow-footed, but he's actually turned into a really honest horse and he IS trying. So I'll give the big guy his credit. When he decides he's gonna do something...He does get the job done.