How soon should I introduce to cattle?
I have a cutting bred QH who I think has potential as a cutter/ team penner.
He is VERY green broke and only has about 40/50 rides on him.
My question is, how soon should I start introducing him to cattle?
He currently has a good w/t and still a little unbalanced in canter. Good stop. He is starting to get yielding the fore and hind quarters consistently.
I wouldn't be looking to actually work cows until he has had many more miles put on him, but I don't know if he has even seen a cow before.
I think he could do well eventually as he already 'tracks' the dogs when we are on rides.
Any opinions would be appreciated.
As soon as you have the opportunity to! If you have cattle available, and if your horse is comfortable riding out, you can start off by just riding him by cattle. Walk past a pasture of cattle, or ride through a pasture of cows. Then you can start maybe working on having him push a cow a little distance, or take one out of the herd...Just make sure you are paying attention to how your horse is feeling about it. If he's getting really freaked out by being that close to cattle, back off, and maybe let him watch them from a distance for a while, and slowly get closer to them.
Probably depends on what you have in mind. When I start horses, I start off nice and easy just pushing a mob of cattle from one corner of a paddock to another along the fence; and only after the horse has the basics nice and consistent, stop, go, left right etc, without me having to really work hard. I also like nice quiet cattle to start them off on; I wouldn’t like to have a green horse working cattle that are likely to run. You might risk A) making problems for the horse if you have to manhandle it to get the job done or B) cause problems if to avoid manhandling the horse you lose cattle or turn tail all the time.
If the horse is nice and soft and consistent, and you have reasonably quiet cattle just starting gently by pushing them about the paddock will be fine. If you want to start getting the horse cutting and roping etc, then it should already have a bit of cattle work under its belt (or cinch?), in my opinion at least. So I guess for me it’s never about a particular time period so much as my judgement of how well the horse is handling.
As soon as you are confident you can ride him out.
I work for a reined cowhorse trainer and we had the horses on the flag before they even could lope a circle. They learned to follow it slowly and it helped teach them what leg meant. They are on cows now, have gathered them, brought them in, and are working them loose rein. They were exposed to cows when they were very green.
Just remember, it's very hard to do both cutting AND team penning. Penning is a good way to ruin a cutting horse.
Thanks all, I have been wanting to introduce him to cattle right away just so he gets used to being around them etc.
We are working on giving to leg lots right now and I think once he gets that down a little better I'll introduce him and see how he does.
I don't know what I want to do with him yet, I love cutting but I know how expensive it can get and I don't know anyone in my area to help me bring him along with it. However, my B/O does team penning every Wednesday and I'm hoping to bring him out a few times to see the atmosphere and get used to the cattle. I know for sure it will be one or the other, just haven't figured out what we will do yet!
I agree put him on as soon as you can but don't overwhelm him. Our ranch colts go out right away on the easy days pushing pairs down the meadows, short easy days. When I worked for trainers we used the colts for turn back, they didn't need to be handy and we went slow, that's when they started to "get it", they started to get snappy and the arena work made sense to them. One of the trainers worked for admitted that the horses progressed faster and were happier. He used to wait longer to put them on cattle.
I too am a firm believer in giving them a job to so the training makes sense and has purpose. It really does make a horse eager to learn but again without overwhelming busting their confidence or blowing them up.
^^Agreed. I like to put young horses on cattle as soon as possible, but the important part is choosing the right kind of cattle and not getting them overwhelmed. I wouldn't put a young horse on a pasture of wild cattle that either scatter at a run or get on the fight. The best place to start is with some mellow critters that are easy to push but don't run off.
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