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.