Day 4 was all about the cows. It was our last chance to get in there and for Charm to gain the confidence to “get it done”. Not that I was determined to “make” her do it, but I felt she was ready.. I knew she just needed a little more time and her confidence boosted. Of course we started out with simulations in the morning. Dave asked us to pick up one rein and have our horse follow our feel and hold it. The goal was to have our horse respond to the feel without any opposition. I want to say that Charm did okay with this. It wasn’t perfect, but something I’ll be using in our warm ups from now on. Then he had us practice running to the fence and have it stop our horses for us.
Then came the cows. We made a rodear with the horses and one by one each person went into the cattle to sort out a cow. Then, depending who helped let the cow out, the two “gate” people and the one sorting would drive the cow to a corner of the arena (the rocks or trees). The riders had to work as a team and read the cow. If the cow stopped, it would give it time to think and cause us trouble! A few times, we had to ride our horse to the fence to head off the cow. Charm and I had a good run and actually beat the cow and successfully stopped and turned it! What a rush! They were sneaky, smart and tough cows! Dave kept calling Charm Godzilla because she would lay her ears back and snake face the cows… but most of the time it was all a bluff!
Then I was given the opportunity to help Charm gain confidence since we were the only ones that weren’t that comfortable with the cattle. At the beginning, Charm was too unconfident to walk into the middle of the black blob and split the herd. Dave helped us by allowing 4 cows to escape to the outside… then he let a few more out until there were only 6 inside the rodear. As we circled and I urged Charm into the middle they split and she went through without any worry. Then again and again and again. It was great! At that point we broke for lunch and took a break.
After lunch it was my turn to go sort my cow and Charm did it! That was my goal for this whole clinic. That Charm would gain enough confidence to sort a cow without any help! The rest of the afternoon was a fun time. We were all exhausted and it was hot and dusty, but it was so fun and exciting! Plus everyone was awesome and so supportive 🙂
It was a great clinic. I can’t believe the improvements since last year. Now I know I just need to take advantage of every opportunity to do that and get Charm around cattle. If it’s been a whole year and it was this much better.. just think how it would be if I could even do this once a month?! I have some ideas.. now I just need to make it happen.