Monday, January 4, 2010

Get Him!

Last night Jeff went with me to the stables. I turned my horses out in the indoor arena so that I could clean their stalls. Jeff wanted to ride and thus the fun began.

But first, some back story...
I have two horses - Bo, a 9-year-old Paint stallion and Cazador, a coming 2-year-old Spanish Mustang stud colt. When Cazador came into my life it was my hope that Bo could act as a role model for the up and coming young stud. You know, keep him in line, teach him about things. To my dismay, for the first several months, all Bo did was act as a chew toy and jungle gym for Cazador. Picture my mature stallion standing around with a tired look that says "kids these days..." and a yearling colt climbing on him, chewing on his neck.

A little while back, Jeff was riding Bo in the indoor. I wanted to turn Cazador out so I was on my way across the indoor, to the round pen in the corner. Jeff said "you can turn him loose out here with us." I warned Jeff that Cazador is a little punk around Bo and he'd have to watch his back or else Cazador would be climbing up there with him. He insisted it'd be fine. So I turned Cazador loose, advised Jeff that the word "quit!" works to keep him off Bo when Bo has a rider, and I left the arena to go do chores.

It turns out Jeff invented a new "game" that night. He was annoyed with cazador trying to "punk" Bo all the time, and he was bored. So he started making Bo follow Cazador and push Cazador around the arena for once.

The next time I turned them out together I noticed Bo was a little less tolerant of Cazador's attitude. He still isn't mean, but he'll push Cazador out of his space and follow him around at his "plowhorse" walk. I told Jeff that he "empowered" Bo. Haha.

Ok, back to last night. I was cleaning stalls while Jeff was riding Bo, with Cazador on the loose. I kept hearing Cazador gallop around in the indoor. At one point I considered going to get him so that Jeff could ride in peace. I thought Cazador was harassing them again to no end. Imagine my surprise when I went to peek in the round pen and see Cazador running around, with Bo trailing him and Jeff with a big smile on his face.

It turned out Jeff was doing the "follow Cazador routine" all that time. He was all smiles when he told me "I taught him a new command, I've fallen off twice." LOL (Jeff rides only bareback, I've offered to let him use a saddle, but he has never taken me up on it - he wants to ride bareback - a good way to learn to ride I think) The new command? Well, when Bo would get close to Cazador, Jeff would say "Get him!" and Bo would lunge at Cazador. I didn't get to see it in action, but Jeff tried it a few times and I did see Bo put his ears back at Cazador and pick up his pace. Jeff said he'd had Bo do it 4 times - twice he stayed on, twice he fell off.

I told Jeff that believe it or not, what he's been doing is good for both of the horses. Cazador is learning he's NOT the boss and has to move his feet away from Bo. Bo is learning tracking. I told Jeff that I've always heard the first step in teaching a horse to work cattle is to track a cow - just follow them around for a while. Jeff said "I wish we had a cow here!" LOL

As far as the "Get him!" command? I think it's funny. Jeff expressed concern that it might be teaching Bo aggression, but I don't think so. I think it's good for Bo to learn anything that gets him to MOVE OUT. He also still needs to assert himself more over Cazador. I think a command that teaches him to move out quickly towards a target will help when and if I ever do get to work cattle with him.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Thankful Thursday (a day late)

I had a lot to be thankful for yesterday. I wasn't able to post this last night, but I figured "better late than never!"

Here are a couple of things I was thankful for on the last day of 2009:

A full moon... The skies were cloudy last night, but there was still enough light reflecting off the snow to go for a late night ride on my stallion, Bo. Riding at night by only the light of the moon is something I had not done before. It was a lot of fun.

Bo... He is SUCH a good boy and even though he wasn't terribly happy about going for a quick ride when it would normally be dinner time, he was a trooper and took me on yet another beautiful, memorable ride.

Having a good time... We went out to a bar with a few acquaintances and even though my idea of a good time is NOT hanging out at a bar with people I don't know, or barely know... I had a really good time. We played pool, talked and laughed, and I even got up and sang a karaoke song - something I haven't done in a long time.

I'm really looking forward to this fresh new year. I have a feeling I'm going to have a LOT to be thankful for as 2010 rolls on. :)