Remember the old tootsie pop commercial with the kid and the owl? Well that is sort of how I felt today.
I took Trax and Killian to the Ranch Horse Clinic, and I am so glad I did. I learned much about my horses today. First off, Killian is a steady rock, we know that, and he is wonderful for trails, conserves his energy..etc But he just doesn't have what it takes for competition. Not enough get up and go when he needs it. Doesn't make him a bad horse, just doesn't make him THAT horse.
Then I tied him up and put my saddle on Trax. He was WOUND UP! I round penned him before we even left the house. Then after I saddled him I lunged him some more. I got up on him he was a dancing and prancing. We practice the "trail" he did fine with the "bridge" stepped over poles and that was nice too. The had a rope "gate" it totally freaked him out. He doesn't like ropes. Finally one of the gals in charge told me to go ahead into the arena and just lope him for as long as it took to wear him down.
So we loped, and we loped, and in the straight aways we stepped up and flat out ran, and we ran and we ran and I was getting tired, but he kept going and going and going. I brought him down some to give myself a rest and he said no, and so we ran and ran some more. We ran to the left and we ran to the right. One guy watching asked, "Who is going to wear out first?" (It was me) But we kept on going. Finally I could feel him starting to let down a bit. So we did some figure 8's. And finally we stopped....finally! But the question in my mind with each lap..."How many laps does it take to get to the center of a paint horse?!?"
Then she says, "are you ready to try him on a cow?" Sure! Now once before I was able to go help some people on a cattle drive. It was 11 miles in 60 mph winds, and snow and rain. So I have always known he has stamina, because that day he never did get tired. He worked his butt off the whole time. With that I mind I knew that he also had some pretty good cow training. I was not prepared though for what happened today. My horse kicked Ass!!!
She let the cow out and said, "Now just follow, lets see if he will lock on." Um yup, no problem there! Then she had me move him around from one end to the other, trying to pen him in. This was a fresh cow, and we really had to move to keep up with him and ahead to turn him around. Pretty soon it was cake. I let Trax know what my intentions were and he took care of the rest. I held on and let him do his thing never taking my eyes off the cow. Now this was not like in the NCHA, where the horses get down low and hold that cow, but he was pretty damn impressive for being handicapped by a rider who had no idea what she was doing. When we were done I was complimented by many and was told that I would have gotten good points off that run in a Ranch horse competition. YAY!!!!
After that we did some reining exercises, and he was calmed down enough to open and close a real gate but he never did do well with that rope gate. Also he did not do so well with dragging a log on a rope. He did it but it was obvious he was trying to get away from the rope.
At one point though I was just sort of messing around on him and I bumped him with my right leg, lifted off with my left and I'll be damned if he didn't take 5 or 6 beautiful steps to the side with legs crossed. That is a first for us too! He did it the other way also but not as nice. My friend Kim saw the whole thing, and said it was textbook.
We need to work on lead changes and his spins, but I knew that would be an issue. We also need to keep working on our lateral flex. OH!!! I almost forgot! I actually got THAT out of him yesterday too. First time to the left he ever stopped spinning. Usually he just goes and goes. So major progress has been made in the last few days.
I have made the decision to go ahead and enter him next weekend. It is still all in fun and it is wonderful practice for him and me both. I will do a whole lot of laps before we start though, will have to get there early I guess. All in all it was a pretty awesome day. I wish I had been able to get pictures. Maybe next time.
Oh and can someone please tell me why I thought I needed a different horse for this?
Ride safe everyone.