Thursday night is team sorting practice at Chance Ridge near Elkhorn. In keeping with the horse themed vacation, John and I took Fancy and Windy over to try it out. Practice is not competition; it is an open ride night to give those interested a chance to expose our horse to cattle and to learn the game of sorting. Doc Smith is very good about showing riders the ropes and helping them safely work with their horses in the pen. We are very lucky to have such a facility so close by.
I’d had Windy over there before and even though her bloodlines should lend itself a little bit to cow sports, she wasn’t really interested. Last night was the same thing. She did the job; she wasn’t afraid but she seemed bored with the whole thing.
Fancy, on the other hand, about melted down the first time she saw the cows. She was very concerned but also showed a level of interest that I didn’t see with Windy.
Fancy would put her head down almost to the cow’s butt and follow it. That is when he could get her close to the herd. The first couple runs Windy had to go with her, but by the last couple runs, she was in there doing it herself.
There were a couple dozen riders and Fancy was attached to Windy’s side; dangerously so. Once, when she noticed I had rode off with Windy she grew quite agitated. John tried to hold her back and she bucked and reared up. It was the naughtiest thing I have ever seen her do and HATED to see this. We took both mares to the other side of the arena and practiced letting me ride off from her. Finally, John took her back to the sorting pens alone and I kept Windy away from her. She was okay if she couldn’t see Windy, but once we would come into sight, she would nicker for her and become anxious again.
A buddy sour horse drives me crazy; they are incredibly dangerous. I really need to encourage John to start riding her out away from the herd quite often. I truly believe that is the key to getting her over it. The more they sit in the corral with the herd, the harder it is for them to leave.
My youngest son came with us: not to spend time with dear ol’ mom and dad but because another of our friend’s son was coming to meet him. Both have given up the equestrian lifestyle but still enjoy just “hanging”. While he waited for his friend to arrive, he did hop on Windy and take her for a spin, stopping briefly to text, of course.
Since the loss of Ginger, Windy is becoming the go-to girl in our herd. From being lead horse around the section to leading Fancy into a herd of bovine. She will never fill her mama’s hoofprints in the speed department but she is showing confidence and leadership when needed and I am very proud of her.
Today we plan to ride the trails again. Highs are suppose to be in the fifties, but the wind is really strong and not terribly inviting. With the nice weather this week, I hit my Trail Time goal of 250 hours, so any riding from here on out will be gravy. Next year, The Distance Derby.
It’s Friday already. Where did the week go. I have really enjoyed my horse time this week and being able to share it with all of you. Very soon it will be back to our regularly scheduled program: Work, infrequent blog posts, cold, winter….