Monday, June 18, 2018

Why I only have one horse

In my previous post I mentioned that I only have one horse to ride.  Well there are reasons for that. 

1. I sent Killian off to a potential new owner.  He is on an 8 week lease with an option to buy.  So far it is working out well for everyone and it is my hope he has found his perfect person.  If not, he can come back and I will just keep him with me. 

2. Melody is out of commission.  She recently was in a pasture with a new horse who promptly claimed ownership to Trax, and kicked the crap out of my mare.  She has a hairline fracture and is 6 weeks in to her 90 day rehab process.  It is truly killing me not to be able to ride her.  The mare that did the kicking didn't stay long.  She was a horse I was trying out.  It ended up not being a good fit. 

I am, however enjoying the ability to focus more time on Trax and our Barrel Racing.  Things are finally starting to come together.  We had some pretty bad runs, but finally pulled down and 18.871 which is our fastest time yet and earned us a little check in the 4D.  3rd place to be exact. 

Here are a few shots from the night.
I like this one.  My eyes are up and we are looking good. 

In this one we are both hunting for the next barrel and right on track

This was my first time running him a tie down.  It seemed to make a difference for him mostly right here, where we struggle with balance.  

In this one the first thing I saw was where I was looking.  He is following my eyes.

As soon as I looked up, so did he. 

I always like these because they show how hard he is trying. 

I have to be honest.  I was almost ready to give up on all of this, but as always, the biggest problem with my horses is the rider.   I'm not going to sit here and try to convince anyone that he is a sweet innocent old guy who only does what he is told.  But for the most part, he really wants to get along, and really likes barrel racing.  He tries really hard to follow my cues, and he just didn't understand why he was getting in trouble for going exactly where he thought I wanted him to go....I was staring at the barrels and so that is where he went.  Even though he didn't often knock them over, he would run into them and then have to jump to one side or the other, or just stop all together.  Once we fixed where my eyes are, and where I cue him to turn, suddenly everything fell into place.  

We still have a long ways to go, and he is never going to be a 1D horse. But I'll never be a 1D rider either, so it works.  We are currently sitting 1st in the 2D senior division for the year end awards of this club.  I'm pretty excited about that! 

Cow Presence

Tonight the meaning of the phrase "Cow presence" became crystal clear to me.

Melody has major cow presence. When you ride her into a group of cows they look up at her, scream like little bitches, and run. She laughs like a mad woman, I laugh like a mad woman, and it is cool as hell.

Trax has ZERO cow presence. When you ride him into a group of cows they look up at him like they want to make out with him or something. I usually hang my head in shame.

Since Trax is the only horse I have left to ride (for now) I took him over to cow night at Rattlesnake Arena. It was oddly quiet this night, which I was actually glad for. It was just me and one other friend...and six cows to have our way with.

Trax and I do a lot of "stop, back up, roll back and move out" but we do it for no apparent reason, and he always thought I was just torturing him, I am sure. So I tortured him some more tonight and then we very slowly moved some cows around using the same routine.

Now this is not his first time doing this, but Trax is a front end horse. He can spin around faster on his front end than any horse I know, so he has held a cow on a fence before...just not correctly. Tonight I asked him to do it correctly.

At some point in the evening, something in him clicked. He suddenly realized that all the fancy foot work torture we have been doing for all this time had a purpose, and that purpose is to have our way with the cows. At one point I managed to get off of his face and he managed to start moving off of his hind end, drop his head and follow my legs and seat.

I'm not talking world class cutting here, but there were some serious moments of clarity for us, and we did manage to shut the cows down. Even when one got away from us, we headed him off and turned him around.

And the paint horse suddenly was having fun!

He still doesn't have that presence that Melly has, but he had purpose and it was a great start. Who knows, maybe he'll be able to be a sorting horse after all.