I have been dying to go to the big arena in my neighborhood for a long time now. They do roping a few days a week, barrels a few days a week, and on Fridays it is sorting night. However my job kept me from going.
Now that THAT is no longer in the way, I put on my big girl panties, saddled up Killian and Melody, and headed down the road last night. I didn't take Trax this time for a couple of reasons. First off, I have seen Trax on a cow, he could really care less. For a former rope and ranch horse, he is one of the least "cowy" horses I have ever seen. Plus, I still have not gotten around to ponying any horses off of him in the arena to see how he will react.
I know that seems silly, after all it isn't the same as dragging a log, but I was adding in a couple of factors. First off, I have never taken Melody any further than the end of my street, and I knew I would be ponying her. While Melody is prone to spook, her spooks are small and manageable, but I still don't know for sure what will make her spook. Trax on the other hand doesn't spook that often but when he does it takes both hands to stop him. There are too many variables there, and I felt that for our first time out I wanted to go with the horse I know can handle ponying another horse, especially one who could spook at any little thing and any given time.
However, I should not have been concerned. Melody did fantastic, didn't even spook at passing traffic. We had to cross a bridge to get to the arena, and Killian gave it a second look, but other than that, they did great. Good job ponies!
We got there and there was no one there. But I made a phone call and in minutes T was there, and said he would be right back with a saddled horse. While I waited I went ahead and warmed up in the smaller arena.
I learned something about Killian right then, and about myself. When I ride Killian, I don't ask much from him. I push his shoulders around, mostly we trot down the road or around the arena. I finally started insisting on correct leads and his lope has changed from off kilter, to a really nice comfy lope. This is especially true since his chiro adjustment. When I ride the other two, I ask for a lot of short runs, quick stops, roll backs, take off and do it all over again. I don't know why I never asked these things of Killian, but I darn sure will from now on. I wanted to get him into what I call "Quick feet mode" and so we did those short runs, and quick stops, and let me just say DAMN, he really does know how to tuck that butt and stop. I have clearly underestimated my old guys abilities. Or maybe I just made excuses because of his age, but he is in pretty good shape other than being a little overweight, so that is all going to change.
Anyway, Melody was kind of sore acting the last time I rode her so I went ahead and gave her just a light dose of bute yesterday, so that she would feel ok. As I warmed her up I could feel a big difference. When she isn't hurting, her training shines. She has some Back on Track hock boots coming, and we have a new exercise regime which we will be implementing (one that does not allow spins) so we can strengthen that hind end. But for this night we trotted and loped and worked on our leg cues and such. She is a dream, that is all I can say.
By then the guy, T, was back and we made our way to the big arena and he brought out the cows. There was a horse right by the gate in a pen banging around on the feeder and Melody said she could not go past that. So I had to get off and lead her.
I got back on and we loped around the arena once, she was on high alert, but responsive. Once we entered the sorting pens her entire demeanor changed. Where as usually she spends a lot of time worrying about what is going on on around her, the minute we stepped in the pens she couldn't see anything but cows.
Right then, that very moment my flighty, dingbat of a diva turned into a cow eating machine.
T asked if I had done sorting before.
"Um no, but I have seen it done."
"Okay so you understand the concept then?"
"Yes for the most part."
So he explained how he likes to do it, and then sent me in after my first cow.
I picked out a cow, urged Melly forward and she went to work. She cut left, she cut right, she almost lost me once because I wasn't ready for her quick moves, but I managed to stay on and she got the job done inspite of me. We traded back and forth, I'd guard the gate, and he'd get a cow, then he'd guard the gate and I'd go get a cow. When Melly was at the gate occasionally a wrong cow would head our way and she would give it her "I'm a cow eating machine" evil eye and said cow would run to the other side of the pen and hide. (Okay that might be a slight exaggeration...but only slight)
After our first round T said, "I thought you said you had never done this before?"
"I haven't, but my horse has. My horse was headed to the Sorting finals in OK, when I bought her."
We did a few more rounds as I got the feel for her and pretty soon we had a really good rhythm going. Sometimes he would guard the gate and have me sort them all, and sometimes we would trade off. She was amazing, I can't even begin to tell you how well she did.
Then I switched out horses and gave Big K a try. Killian also has an alter ego. My rock steady, doesn't give a darn about anything horse couldn't keep his mind on his job because he spent all of his time worrying about where Melody was. I had to reach down and smack him on the shoulder with my reins to get his attention.
Eventually he got down to work, and it didn't take long before the sweat was pouring off of him. Not a bad thing, he is seriously over weight. He does not have the "cow presence" that Melody has. I think it was because she cared about her job, and he really didn't. But all in all, for a horse who has not had to work in 4 years, he did pretty good. I think I did 4 or 5 rounds on him.
Then I switched back to Melody. She spooked at the gate but once she got in, the switch came on and her focus was soooo intense. I mean she literally doesn't see anything but cows. I love it!
We did a few more rounds, and I probably could have done more, but she has gotten a little soft since coming to live with me, and I didn't want to over do it the first time around, so we stopped there. After the last round I got the biggest compliment ever.
"THAT is one broke horse!" (in cowboy lingo it doesn't get any better than that.)
Then it was time to ride home.....in the dark....without a moon.
Killian decided that this would be a great time to become an idiot and do his, "I'm headed home before you get all the way up in the saddle trick." Not cool big red, not cool at all!
We made it home safe and sound, they got a nice hose down and a tiny little snack. I floated in the house and wouldn't shut up for an hour...okay 3 hours.
I cannot wait to get back there again.
If I could get Melody to get over her fear of trail obstacles, we could actually do really well in ASHA. Really well.
I had a request for pics of the saddles I have for sale, for now I have 3 that are really ready. I just picked up 4 more and still have 3 more that I need to work on. My saddle shop is under construction right now, so I don't really have a place to work. It should be done this week, then it will be time to get busy.
First up is a very nice roping saddle. This saddle was made by a company called Weatherford Saddlery out of Laveen, AZ. It has a 15.5" seat, 7" gullet and is in fabulous condition. The leather is buttery soft, the seat is in good shape, it comes with front and rear cinch and riggings, and breast collar. The asking price on this one is $700.00 It is a good solid heavy saddle, made to get the job done.
Next is my Circle Y Equitation 16" seat, 7" gullet, FQHB. light weight, but not cheap, has silver accents, comes with matching breast collar and headstall which have real silver conchos. They are also made by circle Y. One of the most comfortable saddles I have ever ridden in. Asking $900.00 for the full set, $800.00 for just the saddle.
The last one I have that is ready right now is my Colorado Saddlery trail saddle. This one is older but the perfect choice for someone who is on a budget but still wants a good quality saddle. It is 15" seat, 6.5" gullet, SQHB, leather is soft and supple, comes with front cinch and rigging's. I only am asking $400.00 on this one.
Of course most of my prices are negotiable.
What I have coming up will be:
15" Circle Y Equitation- no silver, just a nice simple saddle, $500.00
Unknown maker 16" Reiner/All around - $500.00
unkown maker 17" cutting saddle $400.00
Unkown maker 16" rope saddle- $500.00
Blue Ridge 16"Cutting saddle- $400.00
Blue Ridge16" Rope saddle- $400.00
Unknown 15-16' Trail Saddle- $ 300.00
I won't post pics of the others until they are ready for sale.
I will ship to other states if need be.