Getting ready for a cow class?
(Back story) I show with the OkFQHR, and my gelding is stakes enrolled (like a mini futurity, but weanlings do halter, yearlings do in hand trail, 2 year olds do a pleasure class, 3 year olds do a trail class, and 4 year olds do ranch cutting. Guess who has a 4 year old! Lol) Dusty has had a lot of reining training and is agile as a cat, but very little exposure to cows, he's not scared of them but doesn't quite know what to do with them.
I'm going to my friends on Wednesday to work cows, the show is on Friday. I'm mainly entering the class for fun, win or loose, and only 3 other horses are entered and I'm garaunteed a check.
What kind of things should I work on with the cows, just to help give him more confidence working with cows?
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If you know how to work cows, you'll be able to position the horse easily so that it sees that he controls the movement of cattle. If you haven't work cows much yourself, I'm sure you'll catch on and hopefully your friend is a decent hand that can give good advice.
Get him going very correct on a flag if you can. Stop straight. back a step, smooth, flat turn. Hip in, shoulder up. A lot of horses try and shoulder in on a cow, so it's important that you keep your inside leg on him and only use your outside to finish a turn.
Have you ever worked cows before? Knowing how to read a cow is imperative, especially if your horse doesn't know what to do with one. No matter what, always stop before you turn and keep them shoulder to shoulder. Round turns (Like rollbacks running your pole pattern) doesn't fly in a cutting class.
Like Sorrel said, even if you don't have access to the flag, you can practice the same thing-
Trot a straight line, stop, back at least one step, shoulder up, hip in 180 turn, and trot the other direction over the same set of tracks. Doing that will really help when you do get the chance to work the flag and cattle.
At least in most ranch cutting classes you don't have to drop your hand after you cut your cow so you will be able to help your horse quite a bit. Remember to go slow when choosing your cow, hopefully you will have good turn back help to help you out. If you get a chance to watch your cattle before you go in do it, that will help you decide which ones are bad and help you choose the ones that will make you and horse look good in the pen.
Good luck and get a video!
My experience isn't like, epic. What I have learned was me entering working cow classes and having people yell and help me over the fence, one cow clinic, one time playing on my trainers sorting pony in a few classes, and one time taking cows out of a pen at the feedlot. I bought a Western Horsemanship book "Cow-Horse Comfidence", so hopefully that has good pointers as well. That's about it, what I know is: watch their ears, where their head goes they will follow (unless you are super lucky like me and draw the one eyed calf lol), don't get in front of them, keep your horse tipped in towards them...any other advice??
Oh god. A video? Ya'll will laugh your pants off at me!:P sadly you don't get to pick a cow, they announce the number right as you approach the herd (almost like ranch sorting)
When I rode with a sorting trainer, we did a lot of the back up and turns like you stated. Of course, he moved to no-where-land and we never got to work on cows, and he doesn't have service there, so I can't really get help from him..
Only problem is it got my colt turning supper funky, he tries to hard to please and will do his spin half nice then just get clustered up and start stepping under and backward like a sorter. I had to stop that exercise so we could work on just forward momentum.
Bend him when you turn. Bring his head around. It draws the inside hock underneath him and break him loose in the shoulder; Learned from Skip Brown the other day when I was at his place and my mare started doing that exact same thing. Over exaggerating that bend helps.
Turns out I was thinking of a different excercise. Tried what ya'll said and he actually was much lighter and his reining pivots were much better!! *lightbulb moment*
We won reserve!:D a trophy and $395:) thank you guys for your help, hopefully a video will be up sometime today!:)
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Nice job! Hope you had fun doing it.
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