Making the best cow horse - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 03:16 PM Thread Starter
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Making the best cow horse

Linking back to my post "challenged to train an 8 year old gelding"

How would I make him into a wonderful cow horse? He will be used at brandings and sortings when I am done with him. Havent seen him with cattle yet, just looking for a few hints

When I see a horse, it's like seeing my spirit freed.
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post #2 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 03:38 PM
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Good cow horse are not made they are bred and born.

Now you can get a horse to work a cow through good training but he will never have that natural cow sence. Your best bet is to train the horse to be responsive to your aids and go from there.
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post #3 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 04:56 PM
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Once your horse has basic cues down, get him on cows.

Even an average horse can usually be made into a decent partner for cow work.
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post #4 of 8 Old 01-01-2013, 08:48 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nrhareiner View Post
Good cow horse are not made they are bred and born.

Now you can get a horse to work a cow through good training but he will never have that natural cow sence. Your best bet is to train the horse to be responsive to your aids and go from there.
I agree with this response completely! I haven't seen a lot of the world but I know from what I've seen so far that cow sense cannot be made, it's in the blood. I've seen horses go through reining training only to find that the horse won't work a cow for it's life! A horse has to have the drive! But that could be your horse, you never know until you try! So get him responsive to cues and try it out!
Good luck and keep us posted!!
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post #5 of 8 Old 01-02-2013, 04:07 PM
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I guess it depends what you mean by good cow horse. Most horses I've seen around here have been made into decent ranch horses. We have a lot of QH, but I've seen Arabians, TB, etc... that were great ranch horses, especially on big ranches where they needed to cover a lot of miles. People in our cattle sorting club use everything from QHs and Paints to Appys, Arabians, Standardbreds, and Morgans. My one horse is a Percheron/QH cross. The same horses are usually used on cattle operations

In fact, one of my relatives, who I no longer speak to unfortunately, bred Arabians and TBs for ranch work, and they were fantastic.

But occasionally you'll get a horse that is terrified of cattle, or just wants to run, or is hopelessly lazy, or really clumsy, etc...

As one of the other posters said, get your horse responding to your cues, then introduce him to cattle. He might not be totally comfortable with the cattle at first, but he should settle in and start connecting your cues to working cattle.
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post #6 of 8 Old 01-02-2013, 04:08 PM
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A horse doesn't necessarily need to be a good reiner, or good at any competitive sport, to be a useful ranch horse.
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post #7 of 8 Old 01-02-2013, 04:56 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the advice/ replys! I will definitely keep everyone posted on how it goes when I start working with this horse!

When I see a horse, it's like seeing my spirit freed.
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post #8 of 8 Old 01-02-2013, 05:11 PM
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My horse is pastured with heifers in the summer.. I REALLY think that has helped him learn to read cows. There are no other horses on our farm so they're his only friends. He bosses them around the pasture like an Alpha Mare. He's 17 y.o. And had never worked cattle (been a pasture pet for 7 years prior to me owning him and had very minimal training before that) but we cleaned up at our first cattle sorting competition. He loves woking cows. Some horses just like it and you won't know if yours does until you try. Good luck with your guy!
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