So, I finally did it. I sorted! Sort of.
Yellow's leg is still a little icky, so I finally just said "to hell with it!" and got that goofy little Oklahoma horse loaded up and headed to sorting practice. As I was leading Okie out of the corral, toward the horse trailer (which I hitched up at record speed, thanks to my one-shot at getting the ball lined up under the hitch, thank you very much!) I heard Yellow start to run and celebrate that he had the place to himself for awhile. Little turkey. It would have been him in that horse trailer had I known his leg wasn't really bothering him!
Anyway, last summer Okie was getting a little stubborn with his trailer loading. Not today! He just followed me right in. He wouldn't move over so I could fasten the divider, so I told him that he was going to win that battle, and he could just fall down for all I care!
We got to the arena and no one was there! I got nervous that maybe it had been cancelled. I drove 45 minutes for nothing? I ran to the office to ask and they said that yes, there was indeed practice, but that people didn't usually show up until 11:. It was 9:45. I said, "That's okay...my horse is REALLY fresh!" Truest story I've ever told.
So as I'm leaving the office another member, and the guy who has helped me out the most, pulled in. He jumped out of his rig and helped me back into my spot. Shyeah, like I needed it! I'm really becoming a wiz at this horse trailer stuff!
So out came Oklahoma, and I didn't even bother to tie him up. Straight into the arena we went to lunge for respect. And let me tell you, when we started, he had NONE! He was very environment aware and was pretty much a crack head.
I could describe in great detail how our lunging for respect went, but I'm not going to. Suffice it to say that every naughty thing a horse can do while being worked with on the ground, Okie did. He bucked, kicked, reared, pulled back, shyed, crow hopped, you name it. The other rider was looking at me like, "Is that horse broke?" So then I went to saddle him up. I thought, "You know, he's not standing super still while I'm saddling. I wonder if he doesn't have a few more kinks I should work out."
And boy did he! The real rodeo didn't even start until I lunged him for respect with the saddle on him! The way that horse rounded out his back and crow hopped around, you would have thought that was the first time he'd ever had a saddle on his back! After getting that worked out of him, I mounted up....FOR THE FIRST TIME SINCE I'VE HAD A BABY!
Last summer, The Desert Rose was talking about how her legs kind of give out on her sometimes when she's mounting. Well, that was me today! Where did all my leg strength go?! I would get about 1/2 way up and the saddle would start to slip because I was putting all my weight on my leg, not swinging into the saddle in one graceful movement. It was terrible! Just another example of how I am now that girl that I used to make fun of!
Anyway, after I started walking him around in the arena, he FINALLY started to blow out. That's Okie's big tell. At the beginning of every ride, he holds all of his air in. Once he's relaxed and his crack is out of his system, he blows out air like you wouldn't believe. He put his head down and went to walking like a Quarter Horse should. Eventually I felt that he was relaxed enough to jog. I forgot how smooth that Oklahoma horse is! He doesn't have a real western pleasure jog yet. He doesn't even have one speed that he can stay at for any good amount of time. He needs a lot of miles at the jog. But even his extended jog is so smooth.
Then I saw a woman head for the back door, to let the cows in. I faced Okie toward the door and braced myself. I sat deep in my seat and took some deep breaths. These are the cows that had created quite a tantrum from Okie when he saw them through the fence when we first entered the arena! So in walk the cows, and Okie looks at them, and then puts his head down. He couldn't care less! Thank goodness he remembers something from his training!
So we walk around a couple more times, and a horse lopes up behind us and a bird flies out from the stands at the same time, and Okie decides this is the perfect opportunity to shy, crow hop, and bolt across the arena, all in one swift movement. It would be one thing if he just chose one of these movements, but why does the damned horse have to pick all three? Because he's goofy-assed, is why. I get he head up and to my knee, and he stops, and starts snorting. Ridiculous.
Then the sorting starts. After the first go, the friendly guy asks me if I'm ready. I say sure. I didn't even have time to play my worst case scenario game. I just did it. Mike told me to go get my cow, and I just rode Okie into that herd like we've been doing it all our lives. Okie was not very responsive off my legs in trying to cut our cow off, but he had absolutely no reservations about riding right up to the cow's behind. If a cow cut across the pen to get back to his herd I would get on Okie to catch him, and I'd get a little crow hop out of him, but I just lifted his head up and kept pushing him forward, basically telling him, "I don't have time for this nonsense! We're on the clock!"
By our third round, I wasn't getting much resisitence from Okie. No crow hopping, and we had a pretty decent little run. This horse has all the capabilities in the world, just not as much training and sometimes not as much common sense. But this morning, as I am up at 6:49 because I can't go back to sleep after feeding the munchkin, I'm wishing I wasn't so tired and sore (and I'm sure Okie is too!) so we could head up to team penning practice. I think I'd have a completely different horse today.
Anyway, that was my very first sorting practice. No pictures, I was too busy handling my colt. I have to say, when Yellow kicks up his heels, it's kind of scary because he's so large and does everything with so much force and power. With Okie, it's more like playing with a cat on a string. And riding him is like riding a noodle. Riding Yellow is like riding a log.
Today Gracie and I are headed to a barrel race. She is so excited, she didn't want to go back to sleep after she ate this morning, but I think her excitement finally got the best of her and she's passed out. Wish the same would work for me!
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