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smrobs 06-03-2009 09:51 PM

Have a whole new appreciation for a broke horse.
I went home these last few days off and helped my brother work some of the calves on the ranch he manages. About 175 over 3 days. Working them consists of roping by both hind feet, dragging them to the branding fire, vaccinating them, ear notching them, branding them all, and cutting all the bulls. On Saturday, I show up and we are working the big pasture that day. There are 105 cows and about 97 calves. There were more people there than what I expected and we had an........interesting time sorting the cattle and working the calves....... BUT, now I have a whole new appreciation for a broke horse who is willing. Jason's boss hired out 3 "ranch hands" to help and every one of them was more trouble than they were worth. None of them could rope worth a darn. I only started getting serious about roping this spring and am really not very good yet. I have been roping consistently for about 4 months and I felt like a PRO next to these guys. One of them rode a horse that had no brakes or back up whatsoever. The other rode a horse that would rear every time he tried to back him up or turn him. Of course, it didn't help that the guy would start yanking on the poor horse's head the instant he landed. And the other guy (who was maybe 17) had this really high strung mare that every time he roped something, she would either bring it at a dead run or she wouldn't bring it at all. She had no heart to pull anything that weighed more than about 200 lbs. His solution? "Stick her with a spur, that'll get her going!" :evil: Needless to say, Dobe and I did the majority of the roping and of the 97 calves, we probably drug about 60 of them. Dobe sure was tired at the end of the day. LOL.

Sometimes I take for granted that I have nice horses that I can ease into a herd of calves (or full grown cattle for that matter) and if I can catch the one I want, they will bring it exactly where I want it and what speed I want it there from a creeping walk to a dead run. Whatever I ask for, they are willing and more that happy to do. Dobe will even pull a 350 weight calf backing up without a moment's hesitation. That is not an easy thing for a horse. I have had horses that broke the trees in saddles or broke the rope or broke the breast collar because they would not stop trying unless I asked them to.

I just wanted to share my revelation to never take your good horses and good trainers for granted. Never forget the people who tought you the really important stuff that makes you a good rider and helped you learn to make good horses. Not everyone is so fortunate in their lives to have people to learn from that actually know what they are doing and are good at it.

wild_spot 06-03-2009 10:30 PM

Excellent post.

I wonder why rancher still brand and mark calves in pasture over there? Here we run all the cattle into the yards and draft the calves off, and run the calves into a crush to ear mark, scastrate, vaccinate and tag.

Actually, now I think about it, it may not be as suitable for a huge station... But as far as I know on the big stations here they take portable yards and put them up in the pasture.

smrobs 06-03-2009 10:51 PM

We do have corrals that we do all this in, it would be nearly impossible to do in the open pasture. LOL I guess I should have mentioned that. But where most of the corrals are located, it is not sensible to pull a squeeze chute (crush) out there where the corrals are set up. I can't run one of those silly things anyway. :) It is just much easier to do it from horseback (providing you have a good horse). More fun too. ;p

Whipple 06-03-2009 10:59 PM

Oh wow! That sounds like fun! Hard work, but fun! Although babysitting is not very fun, especially when they're brats. Haha.

MacabreMikolaj 06-03-2009 10:59 PM

I know exactly what you mean. But I don't think I neccesarily take my own horse for granted so much as I'm in disbelief of other peoples horses and training.

I think a good example is on Sunday, we had the new farrier out. We had a total of 7 horses to trim, plus a miniature gelding. We trimmed my new 2 year old first, the one who's learned she can just do acrobatics on three legs when she gets tired of standing. We had a couple good blow ups before she was willing to settle down and listen to me. He trimmed a couple of the old hands in between, then moved on to my roommates 2 year old Half-Clydesdale filly. Again, a few more blowups but it went half decent.

We're the kind of people who were actually embarrased that he had to trim these snot nosed 2 year olds. Meanwhile, all the farrier could keep saying was what a darn enjoyable day it was trimming the five older mares who stood perfectly. He was even impressed with the 2 year olds, seeing as he's trimmed the rogues where mine came from and knows how little handling they've had. We've been handling her feet at a furious pace in the last month, getting her as prepared as possible.

Anyway, long story short, I just never see it as "good training" that my mare stands for the farrier. I see it as NECCESARY training. I am humiliated if I have to get my horse looked at by a vet or farrier and they misbehave, because that reflects on me. It just shocked me that the farrier was SO impressed with our crew, meanwhile I've never seen anything special in it, it's just routine training to ensure that whoever works with my horse is as safe as possible while doing so.

We're the sort of people that tie red ribbons in our horses tails and warn people on the trail when our horse kicked another horse ONCE four years ago. My Arab has never kicked anybody on the trail, but I still watch her and who's around me. Meanwhile, "friends" of ours came on a trail ride, the mom swore up and down that her mare didn't kick, and what happened? You guessed it, she nailed my best friends mom in the knee from ACROSS the trail path when she lashed out at the horse she was riding.

It just kind of scares me that what seems like common sense to me is actually seen as "great training" by other people. But it's the foundation I lay that enables my horse to further advance into actual great training, much like yours I'm sure smrobs. It makes me shake my head that people who are doing work such as you were doing didn't see the purpose of bothering to properly train their animals. It's not fair to the horse and it's not fair to the people around the horse.

Anyway, kudos to you and I'm glad you got to show them a thing or two about a well trained horse!

free_sprtd 06-04-2009 12:43 AM

Dobe sounds like such a wonderful horse!!! I'm coming to bribe him with a carrot right now so he can come stay in my apartment and i'll take him for walks and and and and lol jk. IT is so true how great it is to have a horse that is willing and that TRUSTS you. You are a great rider and Dobe is feeding off of that as well as having a great mind. Glad you guys did well on the ranch and poopy that there were so many half trained "cowboys" out there!

smrobs 06-04-2009 12:49 AM

That's okay, the only person who could rope better and had a better horse was my brother. I did quite enjoy showing up all those guys though. I was the ONLY girl there.

And thank you. I am pretty darn proud of Dobe myself. :) If you can catch him though, will you let me in on the secret? He is getting quite good at evading me in the pasture. LOL. I would definitely trade him for Thunder.......... for a while anyway. ;)

free_sprtd 06-04-2009 12:52 AM

hmmm don't know if me or you could handle the seperation lol! they can be friends at heart though ;)

EveningShadows 06-04-2009 11:28 PM

Sounds like a long day! I'm sure Dobe had fun though and I'm glad you were able to show off some of your new skills! I don't think I could rope a bale of hay if my life depended on it...

And Moki, well put...the fact that some people are more than ok with their half trained accidents waiting to happen is beyond me. Like with what's-her-name's horse kicking my mom...I realise you may not have known she was a kicker, but when you feel your horse bolt sideways and thrash with her back legs at another rider, at LEAST get after her for it! And I doubt she's done anything more to resolve the problem.

I'm of the same mindframe though...ground manners are a MUST, riding manners are to be worked on. It takes time to teach, and to learn...but to flat out give up and just accept half trained? That bothers me...

Cayuse 06-04-2009 11:32 PM

Those big roundups and brandings are always fun. Good help and horses goes along way!! Sounds like while you did work you had a good time.

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