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Any Penning Tips?
Well..through the winter, my BO informed me that there's going to be shows in an arena about 25 minutes away.
They're having both games and team penning. I've been wanting to try reining, penning, and roping with Lucky for awhile, since I think she'd do well if we worked on it. We already have awesome rollbacks, a decent slide-stop, etc. But, I haven't really seen her with a cow before..I have just messed around and "cut" one of the BO's dogs for fun and she got really interested and was having the same amount of fun she has doing barrels.
So, does anyone have any tips on what I could work with her on off cattle before I try and take her to a show?
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Penning is tons of fun and can be a great change of pace for your horse. It is actually something that anyone can try. Your horse should know the basics and be responsive at all speeds. It can get very quick. Sounds like you have a good start with the ability to do roll backs and the stops. You don't need a sliding stop though, just a quick clean stop with your horse remaining square. You also want to be able to come out of any change of direction with speed. Use your legs and seat as much as possible for your cues. You want your horse to quickly move off your legs.
To actually practice working a cow with out a cow there, having someone else on a horse is great. One person plays cow and the other is the penner. Work on positioning your horse to effectively move the "cow". Directing your horse to the hip controls foward and speed. Moving to shoulder of the cow controls direction and sets you up to stop and turn the cow. Always keep your horse slightly bent around your leg closest to the "cow". This keeps there eyes on the cow and in a position to move in to control speed and direction. Start by just keeping your "cow" going straight up the wall and as your horse gets used to watching have the other rider challenge you a bit more by varying speed and direction.
The other thing you can do is mirror each other. Stand the horses facing each other. One rider does the moves first and the other asks their horse to follow the moves from side to side. This is kind of like working a flag to train your horse to watch and react. As you get going try to control where the other rider or cow is going. Get ahead of their shoulder and ask your horse to turn them back the other way.
Have fun with it, make it enjoyable for your horse. Add speed as you feel comfortable.
When I used to do a lot of penning and I had a new horse that I anted to try, I would take him to the meet and let him watch for a time or two. If you know the outfit running the penning, ask if you can go in and settle the herd during the change up or if you can go in after the meet is over to school your horse.
Some meets will have a schooling secession after the meet is over. Even though your horse has the basics down and seems interested, getting charged by a cow or run over by one is a totally different thing.
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