Horses are amazing animals. They are strong. They are agile. Because they are herding animals, they form a bond with their master and most have a desire to please their master, whom they view as the leader of their herd. Horses are smart, therefore, they can be trained to do all sorts of tasks. They can be trained to pull wagons, by themselves or within a team. They can be trained to perform circus acts. They can be trained for all sorts of various farming or ranch work. Prior to the invention of the steam engine, horses were the most valuable animal to mankind, as they were used for any and all heavy work a man, or even a team of men, could not physically accomplish.
This weekend I decided to take some time off from the demands of garden harvesting and enjoy the amazing athletic abilities of this most majestic animal. I joined Mr.B and the littles in Miles City for their final rodeo until spring. Since she is training her own horse, Quatro, Songbird may go to a few barrel racing exhibitions this fall and winter in hopes of having him ready for competition next spring. The littles will also haul their horses to an indoor arena a couple times per week this winter to keep them legged up and in shape.
Most urban folks do not realize that horses do not automatically herd or chase livestock, nor do they instinctively know when to stop, pull, or back up when working livestock. They must be trained to do those things. For racing events the horses must be trained to catch the correct leads while running (called flying lead changes) and learn various cues from their rider for tight turns and timing for speed. Even the bucking horses at rodeos are trained. In the sport of rodeo, not only is the cowboy or cowgirl an athlete, but the horse is also an athlete. The cowboy and his horse are a team and if they are to ever be successful, they must learn to work together, like, as the saying goes, a well oiled machine.
Farmer Boy competed in flag racing ...
... and goat tying events.
|Wow! It is utterly amazing how much Farmer Boy looks like Mr.B.|
If not for the age and quality of the photos, I wouldn't be
able to tell the difference between the two.
Songbird is currently using a friend's horse to compete in barrel racing ...
... and pole bending.
|If you look closely and a little to the left, |
you can see Songbird's hat in mid-air after flying off her head.
She always looses her hat.
It was a long two days for me that put me behind on my gardening and canning responsibilities. But, it was wonderful to watch the littles and their horses have such a fun time. It won't be long before the littles will leave this nest and begin living independent lives like their older brothers. I know all too well from experience, those will be the days when these sorts of long weekends that put me behind on my farm chores will be greatly missed.