Saturday, September 24, 2022

Road To The Horse ... What's THAT?

 It's early in sunny Arizona ... except for those big rain clouds.  After my morning coffee, I can muster up enough gumption to do one job that lasts for about an hour.  After that, it's just too hot for this girl.  I cleaned out the entrance to the downspouts the day before ... now to use the hose with a fire hose nozzle to see if water would go down the spout.  

Like the spider that was going UP the spout, I sent the water DOWN, washing out as best I could.  The problem lies in the fact that I'm on a steep hill covered with rocks.  There's no way to get TO the gutter from the outside.  Forethought ... I had no forethought when the cover was built.  

At last I had water coming out the bottom of all three.  They are still half full of sand.  Now soaking wet and covered with dirt, I quit for the day.  I'm pretty sure those two trees that caused all the problem (except for the sand of course) will magically disappear to the purring of a chainsaw on a stick.

It was then time to check the game camera.  Finally ... proof there still are bunnies around, if only one.  Sadly, there have only been one or two coyote drive bys ... and no drinking.  No surprise since there's water everywhere.

I had plans ... but I apologize ... they went right out the window when I turned on the TV while getting ready to go out.  Road to the Horse ... what the heck is that?  Freestyle Challenge?  Never heard of it in my life.  

I instantly stopped in my tracks when I figured it out.  They brought in six of the best known colt starters in the country to compete for a spot in the World Competition.  I never knew there was one.  These people (including two women by the way) start horses from scratch, breaking them to ride, turn and stop.

Six people ... eight horses.  They drew numbers and got to pick the horse they wanted to start.  The horses came from the famous 6666 Ranch (because Samuel Burnett won the ranch in a game of poker with four sixes back in about 1870) and all have fabulous bloodlines.  

I chose the buckskin, then the gray.  Why?  Because as they ran around the arena, they acted like they wanted a friend to hang out with.  They were getting close to the other horses, but being chased away.  A good trainer can provide that support they are looking for.  It makes it easy to make a connection with the horse.  You need that connection to make it easier on you and them.

Three round pens ... three trainers ... all having only 90 minutes to get the horse saddled and ridden while being judged on their way of doing it.  Next session, three new trainers and horses.   On the second day they will have to ride them over and around obstacles.  Best score from four judges wins ... because they throw out the lowest score from the fifth judge.

I was instantly hooked.  There's no way I was going anywhere.  Way back when I was MUCH younger and working with Tom Dorrance, he was the first to use a flag on a stick to get the horse to move.  Every one of these guys used a flag.  I guess it's a technique that finally caught on.  

So here's my first choice ... saddled up and ridden in the first 30 minutes.  You want to get the horse "hooked" to you ... that he follows you and looks to you for support.  This is J.R. Robles from Oregon. 

I have to say one gal only rode English and she picked the most skittish horse there.  She had a very hard time getting him caught and to a point she could get on.  By the time the bell rang, she was riding him around.  The second gal did a little better, but her horse bucked pretty good ... not hard, but enough to land her in the dirt.  

I never left the couch.  For four solid hours I watched every second.  This is my thing ... what I wanted to do all my life, but never got the chance.  Back in the day, the thought of a girl training horses was a big joke to everyone.  It just wasn't going to happen.  

So ... I'm apologizing again because today is the second day when they have to get the horses used to things like a wooden bridge, tarps, a cowboy curtain (strings of cloth hung up they have to walk through) and there's no way I'm not going to be on the edge of my seat the entire time.

Just a note ... J.R. Robles with the buckskin no one wanted, scored highest because his horse did the best.  The guy who picked the gray horse above came in second.  In 90 minutes every horse was saddled and being ridden.   I won't bore you with a minute by minute description.

That made me late ... everyone was out of food in this house and a fast trip to the store was in order.  I even picked up some bird seed ... guaranteed to bring everyone to the dinner table.  This was interesting ... the finch on the left was feeding the one on the right.  By evening, it was all gone.  Yes this will bring in mice and rats most likely, which brings in snakes, but hopefully they won't be able to climb the wall.  

And so ended an exciting day for me, but probably rather boring for anyone not having a passion for training horses.  I have to admit, we didn't exactly do it that way on the ranch.  We did take a long time saddling them and sacking them out before climbing on.  

Yes I got bucked off a few times ... once badly thrown into a fence ... but since there were no broken bones, I got right back on.  That's probably where my stubbornness comes from!!  

Day two is scheduled for this morning, so once again, there will be no adventures.  I'll be on the couch watching the action.  It's on the Dish Network Cowboy Channel if you want to take a look.


  1. At our age, it might take a bit longer to get back on after getting bucked off, eh. :O)

    1. I think that would be a correct statement, but for sure, I would get right back on.

  2. Very interesting, we will have to look for that show!

    1. Jim, today is the last day ... the championship. They have to ride the colts through an obstacle course. Hopefully it will be shown again. Dish Network, Cowboy channel 232.

  3. Wish we got that channel....too cheep to buy any cable or extra stuff outside of Amazon (like the free shipping...the Prime stuff is just icing on the cake.)

    1. So far they have shown 109 rodeos in 100 days. September is the end of the rodeo season with the finals being in December. No doubt I will be paying extra before long ... they have a gazillion people watching!!