I thought through this blog this afternoon, as I was 160 acres away from the house and any other human. Now, 160ac may not seem like very far to some and huge to others. But, when you're on a good horse, it doesn't really matter. Right now, its enough land, and we own it (almost, the bank still owns some).
You see, I had a rough afternoon, and Honey threw me on the horse to go check cows. A good ride always puts me in the right frame of mind (a pleasant, happy one). I took 'Koda today. He's our "new" stud.
We bought him last spring at the Pitzer sale. When we got him home, we took him for a ride only a couple of times before he went out with the mares for the rest of the summer. Last fall, we were still in the dirtwork stage, and didn't have our pens at the barn finished, so we didn't ride him much either.
Now that the weather is nice, and we are calving, we've been taking Koda out to check calves each night. During the school week, that usually means that I do chores with the kids in the truck and Honey takes the horse out to check cows.
Since we haven't ridden him much, each time is an adventure. You see, we are still trying to find out which bit fits him best. He is pretty sensitive. We started out just throwing Honey's regular bridle on him. He rides his big ranch horse in a correction bit most of the time. WOAH! That was waaaayyyy to much for Koda. Barely a touch to the reins, and his head was in his chest. Next, we threw on the next bridle Honey grabbed. It had a broken, twisted wire with a very small gag (1/2 inch, you might call it a slide) and short shanks (about 2 1/2 inches). This was ok, except when Honey went to rope anything. Koda would start backing up when Honey was just trying to hold the calf, so I could tag. Then, we threw on the next bridle which is a Heart shaped twisted wire. The Ring just has a little curve in it (like a heart), so your reins don't slide all around like with a ring. This seems to work pretty well. But, it isn't legal for us to ride him 2 handed in QH shows (which I really want to make my goal this summer). So, we are now out of bits already on bridles, and trying to decide what we want to put him in next. I know I want something with a little bit of shank (so it would work better for roping than the current bit). Any, suggestions???
Now, on to the actual ride! IT WAS WONDERFUL!!! Koda is such a great mover! Once we got through the mud, I was out on open pasture. AHHHH!! Can you feel my shoulders relax?? What is better than a great ride on a beautiful horse? Nothing! Koda is a beautiful bay roan, and has quite the pretty head. (I have plans to get some good pics of him this summer) It took about 2 seconds, and I had him collected in to a pretty little pleasure horse trot! EEEK! Koda is a CowHorse. But then why, you say, do I want a little trot? Well, you see it's because I CAN. He is a great mover, and we then extended his trot to cover some ground. AHHHH!!! More fun and relaxation! Then I let him into a nice lope. And got to the back fence. No cows back here. So we turned around and I let him out. We ran for about 20 acres and then relaxed right back into a nice little lope again (think reining, what I REALLY want to do with him besides Working Cow Horse).
We checked out a couple of lone cows with new calves, and found one in the process of calving, I wrote down her # (didn't have any paper, so I texted it to Honey) and went on to the next group to check all of those calves. They we all doing fine, & I was enjoying myself, so I took a nice little long trot around the pond. Just to check for cows at the bottom. Yeah, that's why I did it, to check for cows...... Not to stretch him out again and go down a hill and around some brush, Yeah that's why.
Then we crossed the creek again. Remind me to have Honey cut down the blasted THORN TREES! (Honey Locust trees) They are right in the middle of the crossing, so I just had to ride him down the side of the ravine to see if there was a different crossing. Never mind the fact that I know there isn't, and I had just come through the only crossing to get ON the far side. I just had to check. So, I took Koda back to the crossing and made him walk down into the water, & then let him jump out. We trailed through the rest of the cows at the bottom of the front pond. Wow! We have a ton of really great calves so far!
Then, here come the next 3 challenges for Koda... THE MARES! You see, we have "his" mares out in this pasture with the cows, and he WANTS them. He doesn't care if they are bred and ready to foal... THEY ARE HIS! He wants to talk (whinny, or scream) to them. So, I took a little time to school him and let him know that it is NOT ok to talk when someone is ON his back.
Then we went across the road and checked the next group of cows. Our custom cows that have NEVER seen a horse. That was much less horsey. Just a bunch of walking and watching to make sure they weren't going to stampede away from me or come and try to "eat my lunch" (that's Momma talk for trying to hit my horse and knock me off).
Did you enjoy your vicarious ride? I enjoyed it all over again!
I hope to let you enjoy some more rides with me this spring!! If you want to hop along with me you can follow me on Twitter! (check it out over on the sidebar and click!) I tweeted while I was out back riding! I had to keep up with the springtime birds you know!! : )