Training is an interesting word in our horse program as we do not spend a lot of time in the arena loping circles anymore, not that that wouldn’t be good we just don’t do it as much as we use to. Just the same we get em broke.
I don’t show anymore in the Reined Cow Horse events. I experienced only mild success there but had a great time and learned a lot about horses, trainers and the ‘Professional World’ of horses.
Most of my life with horses has involved ‘using’ horses, horses that work for a living. Yes it’s nice to have some fancy bred and broke ‘Reiner’ like the ones you see on Yellowstone, where Kevin Costner and his crew lope off on their $60,000 dollar, professionally trained horses. I hope anyone watching Yellowstone and enjoying it is painfully aware of how inaccurate that series portrays Ranching in the American West and actually 60k may not cover the cost of a good Reiner.
A lot of our horses have been 4 year olds with 14 rides that I could catch and do a days worth of work on. Where I am now age wise I have to be a little more cautious about throwing a leg over a snorty 4 year old at 3:30 in the morning. I’m still doing it but pick and choose my day’s and horses. No one needs a broken hip at any age but the older you get the slower you heal. Some of the places that I ‘Day Work’ are very isolated and you may not survive the ride to town and if you require a Helicopter ride to a hospital it could take an hour for some one to drive to cell service to make the call. Never-the-less, bronc rides still happen in the American West cattle country.
My Cinco Colt who bucked me off as a 3 year old was doing rather well this spring. I made it to a couple of Brandings and got some good miles on him. He’s started in the two rein and packing the Spade nicely. Kind of a natural to be a bridle horse; unfortunately he bucked a couple of riders off this summer.
When I got around to riding him again I made sure that all went well. He’s one of those colts that’s going to take some attention to get him past a few things. He’s handy and got a lot of personality but he can be a naughty boy. Soft hands, wet saddle blankets and lots of sand under his belly will bring him along.
My riding has changed some through the years. My wife and I trail ride as often as we can, I do a certain amount of day work and get to every branding I can make in Southwest Idaho in the springtime, and we chase Elk every fall. That should be enough to bring colts along.
Several times a year we will have a play day at the Bruneau Dunes and everyone that can make it comes and rides. The young horses we send around the dunes to get them aired out while some of the other horses and riders take short rides out from the Equestrian area. Often the monotony of the day settles even the friskiest colt down. This past October we invited my great niece and her husband and kids to join us and they had a great time.
Safety is a huge issue with us but as with all things with horses they are big and unpredictable animals and accidents happen and that is the reason we don’t put a lot of folks that aren’t family on our horses.
The feature photo is of me and my grand daughter and the look of joy on her face says it all. Most kids love horses and a good introduction to them can make a huge difference in a lifetime of enjoyment or a lifetime of fearing them.
When we put youngsters on our horses either with someone or alone we take double care in matching horse and rider or in this case horse and riders. One rule of thumb that we live with around here is if things go bad and you have to leave the company of your horse and you have a youngster on board with you is that you hit the ground with the child protected by your body. I can’t recall any incident that we have had to do that but I believe it is because we are cautious and protective of both the rider and horse.
As quick as horses are to learn bad habits a wreck with a crying youngsters will not soon be forgotten.
We ride them and get them broke and enjoy them a great deal but we are continually aware and occasionally reminded of ‘The Nature of Horses’.