Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Realizations at the Show

We watched the cutting on Saturday afternoon and enjoyed a sandwich. After everyone was finished and left, and the panels were put up in the arena for the sorting the next day, we brought our horses in for an easy ride at eight. I just put Milo's bridle on and hopped on bareback. Sarah handed me a dressage whip to aid in bringing his hip in on an arch, something he was reluctant to comply with with only my spur the night before. However being bareback Milo was much more sensitive to my leg aids than in the saddle. Oddly enough, when I got back into Sarahs saddle for our ride the night before, I felt like I had to re-learn how to ride in a saddle. And I felt like I couldnt feel my horse, I think it was an adjsutment for Milo as well.
We worked on the couple exercises from Sarah again, than quickly noticed Milo wasnt working over his back. He would drop his head to my leg cue, but wasnt lifitng up his back. So I stopped and just asked for a lift. Asked and held. Milo tried to drop his head and walk forward. Again I asked. And Again. And still Milo wasnt lifting. Confused and frustrated, I asked Sarah for some advice. She had me try to back him when he didnt respond which would get him to lift his back. Than stop and ask again. If he did than say good boy and walk him forward with his back lifted. It took a while, but eventually he got a nice lift. So I stopped and got off. I only rode for about 15 minutes but it seemed beneficial.

Sorting was on Sunday but the Green Novice was at the end. Melissa and I watched the Open and #7 classes until Sarah came back from a client's. We were able to observe that those groups that took there time and didnt get greedy were able to finish with a good amount of cows and a clean smooth run. Those that went in hot headed and rushing hardly ever finished with a clean run. Not to mention their horses took the brunt of their frustrated score with heavy jerking hands and spurs in the sides. It was a good reminder to Melissa and I to take our time in our runs.

The open class was smaller than the month before, so it initially gave promise to a faster day. But the #7 class and novice proved to be large, making our Green Novice class not beign until almost 4.

During warm up, I continued to school Milo on the new concepts given to me by Sarah. As I worked on the new exercises, it became clear in my mind how each piece flows into the next. And I got a better understanding on using my outside aid as support. It was amazing how light and responsive Milo was, moving off my leg and rein. I even pushed him into a turnaround keeping him in an arch, with my leg back at C to keep the hip to the inside than just laying my rein onto his neck. It was great! Finally what Sarah was saying was actually coming into play. And he was working over his back and engaging his hind end so nicely. Sarah commented on how pleasure Milo looked (well that is his breeding afterall...). It was great. I told her shes a magician and that we will have to get a t-shirt for her.

We stood and watched the last of the Novice class finish their rounds, than waited for the announcer to call our names for our runs. Tonya and Cindy where there again, but this time Brittany and Heidi were there as well. I was able to run with them all except Heidi, I had one run with someone I didnt know. My first run though was with Melissa and Grace. We had agreed from our earlier observations to take it slow and easy, no rushing.

As soon as Milo got into the pen and locked on a cow I lost all of my body control. His head flew into the air, his back hollowed out, he ignored my leg cues, but most worst, he refused to listen to what I instructed him to do. He danced in the holding pen, chomped at cows when we pushed them, and overall, got way too excited and tried to pick a cow to chase without listening to the imput from me on his back. He would lock onto any cow that happend to be in his path or sight, diregarding me telling him to stop biting the one in front of him and work the one I pushed him to.

It was frustrating to say the least. And from our experience at the rodeo, Milo has learned how to flip his nose straight out thereby giving me no control in the snaffle. I considered putting a tie down on him so when he tried to flip his head up to avoid my direction, he would hit the noseband, disallowing him access to gain control. But after my second run in, I thought it might be a bad idea to put something new on him in such a high energy environment. While I think it could have been beneficial, I thought it would be a safer route to introduce something new at home.

Here is one run of Melissa and I.

video

After each run however I worked him again and was able to regain control over him, get him lifting his back and moving off my aids. So it isnt a matter of him not knowing, its him seeing a cow and tuning me out. That is not ok.

I was a bit bummed to be ending on a rather negative note to an otherwise great weekend. I had a lot of really good chats with Melissa and Sarah, had some good food (Mexican :) ), and an overall good time. But I decided that before Milo was going to step into a sorting arena again we have to establish that when a cow is in front of him, he still listens to me. I think we will be able to regain this through going out to Diamond Hill Ranch as much as we can and just pull a cow out into the arena to work, giving me a good opportunity to get off the cows and school if necessary, than easily go back on a cow to try again. I also affirmed that I want to pursue taking lessons from Sarah. It really amazed me how logical everything she told me seemed to be. And how quickly things progressed for Milo and I. After our warm up on Sunday morning, I got this high excitement to learn more. I am excited for what lies ahead of us.

1 comment:

Amy Lou said...

Hey there! Here is a good article that I read just yesterday about teaching a horse to work with cows.

http://westernhorseman.com/index.php/articles/western-horsemanship-mainmenu-77/article/598-6-keys-to-cow-smarts.html