Dave Ellis 2010.. Moooo!!

It. Was. Amazing.

I had a spectacular time riding with Dave Ellis for four days of cow working! The first two days were spent preparing for the last two days. We did lots of really cool simulations to get our horses ready for the cows. Most of the exercises helped free up their shoulders .. we did LOTS of rollbacks, transitions and backing. Some of the simulations we’d act as either the “cow” or “cowboy” and it all came together once we worked the real cows.

At the end of day 2 we were able to follow the cows around the field. Charm wanted nothing to do with the cows so I wasn’t quite sure how it would go. As we got closer and they started to move away, she gained confidence and actually got within 15 feet. That was a great start!

When day 3 came we gathered the cows and made rodear to hold them. It’s like a horse fence.

Here is our Rodear holding the steer in.

At first Dave had us go in quietly one at a time so our horses would get accustom to the cows. Then he had us sort a cow. We were to pick one, get it all by itself.. once it was standing still, we’d shoot the cow and the game was over. By “shooting” the cow, our horse would feel our energy go down and know it was time to quit working. Then we got to the point where we’d sort a cow, let it out of the rodear, follow it a little and then let it back in. After that, we’d sort a cow, let it out of the rodear, drive it around the edge of the rodear while there was an outrider on the far edge keeping the cow from going out into the field. The object of this exercise was to get the cow all the way around and back in where it came out. So, if you were on the rodear, you had to stop the cow from coming back in by positioning your horse as the cow ran past. It was SO fun! And really started to flow once everyone got the hang of it. Charm was still nervous of the cows, but became pretty confident if there was just one cow.

Here we are driving the cow around the rodear. As we went along, Charm started to put her ears back at the cows when they'd come by. In this picture, you can see she has her game face on.

I really had a good time on the third day. We had focused on Ranch Work that day and Dave wanted us to do everything California style.. so a little more classy than Texas πŸ˜‰

The fourth day we focused on competition. We started with team penning. We broke up into teams and had to drive our cows over to some panels shaped like a U facing away from us. The goal was to get the cow to go into the U. Some of the cows were more tame than the others.. so at some points we were cantering all over the field chasing after a fast cow.. and other times we drove a slower cow with ease.

In the afternoon we played around with another game called Campdrafting. It’s a popular competition in Australia. The goal is to drive your cow around three poles in sorta a barrel racing pattern. As the riders held the herd in a half rodear on the fence, one cow was cut out. There were also three people doing this. The middle person was in charge of driving the cow forward, while the other two people were the outriders and were telling the cow were to go. It was very difficult!! Unless you had the slow cow I named Bubba.. he just took his time and we actually finished the task rather quickly. The first time my team had a really energetic cow that caused us to run all over the field after it!

I had a great time and each day I could feel Charm getting more and more confident. I learned so much and would love to do this again!

Here we are stopping the steer. The steer looks like he's about to turn into us which would be considered a challenge. When they turn away, that's considered a submissive move. Once you can get them to turn away, you have a better chance of driving them where you want to go.

Focus is a very important part of cow working. When you focus on the cow you want, the horse can tell which one and so can the cow. Dave told us to focus on the cow's ear to turn them and boy did it work. We also had to set our horses up - cow side rein higher and point your foot at the cow. This creates a bend in your horse that allows them to be more efficient.

Dave Ellis - Thank you Mr. Ellis for sharing your knowledge with us! I had a wonderful time, learned a ton and I feel that Charm and I both gained confidence.

And I can’t forget my wonderful husband who stayed home with Wyatt while I was at the clinic. Thanks Adam!

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9 thoughts on “Dave Ellis 2010.. Moooo!!

  1. I can’t even describe how fun that looks! It LOOKS like you had a blast too. Looks so awesome and a really great way to work as a team!:D Wish I would have come to audit!

    I would just love to do that!

    • I wish you could have audited too! You should try to follow some with Rebel.. all you have to do is go into the next pasture!

      • I will keep that in mind and give it a try sometime, maybe even today:D Especially since we have a whole bunch of cows. πŸ™‚

    • Where’s Mr. Mecate?!?! He was like a broken record wasn’t he. Thank you so much Jackie for all your help. I owe you.. next year I’ll be your show assistant!! πŸ˜€

  2. Hey Heidi-you and Charm look great!! Glad you had such a good time!! Wyatt looks wonderful too in his pictures without his oxygen-he is so big. And what a cutie-watch out girls when he gets a little older!!!! We are having trouble with our computer-so I hope you get this message! Take care-Toni

    • Hey Toni!
      I did have a good time. Wyatt is growing bigger and bigger each day. It’s so neat to see the little changes. I hope to see you soon!

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