Season 5 Premier: Worst Horse Practices and News

Listen to Episode 1

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Chuck, a young border collie at right, starts learning the ropes

This is Episode 1 of Season 5.  For this show, I’m speaking on behalf or maybe I should say as half. Half of the interview crew for this podcast. Jec and I have had a hiatus and Jec is still doing her thing and enjoying summer. She’ll be back later this season.

I thought I’d make this a short episode to let you know what I’ve been up to and to ask you what you’ve been up to. As I mentioned, we love hearing from listeners and, as always, folks who get in touch with us with feedback or suggestions for guests and topics are in the running for freebies.

Thanks to our title sponsor, Lucerne Farms, producers of quality forage feeds, extremely handy and healthy bales of alfalfa, timothy, and grass blends. A great addition or substitute for your hay or grass and way better than grain. They also make products for your stalls and chickens. Check them out at lucerne farms com

Also, a shout out to a clothing company that’s putting a trot in our steps lately: Dovetail, a women-owned maker of tough, very horse-rider friendly pants. Try the bootcut jeans – stretchy, durable, and they look good.

Since our last episode for Season 4, I’ve been working on several projects. I have been day working for a rancher here in Montezuma County. That means I do a bit of everything. Lately, there has been a lot of fencing and moving cows. My go-to gelding, Ray, has an injury, so my younger, greener horse, Table, has been relied on quite a bit. There is a silver lining in Ray’s injury, I try to tell myself, because really, as a young horse in training, Table should be ridden a lot.

Table surveys cows in Creede.

We have had our circus moments, but mostly I’m very pleased with his progress. He’s becoming more patient and confident. And he’s able to do more, like open gates, side pass, move through thick brush without freaking out, and ride away from buddies without freaking out.

We took a spill the other day when, in the midst of trotting a big circle, we went down in a big gopher hole. I hurt my cheek (it looked like I got into a bar fight) but anyway, I was really pleased that Table trotted a few steps and then waited for me to collect myself. Way better than a few months ago, when I think he would have bolted and headed for the next county. So, even though it was painful and unfortunate, I counted that moment as a win!

Table has been behind cows several times and while he’s not “cow-y” (like cow-bred quarter horses who pin their ears and love to boss around cattle), he’s engaged with what’s going on and, surprisingly, is not flustered by the process of moving cows, fetching cows, and all the things you tend to do when handling cattle in open spaces and then smaller confines, like pens and corrals. He does get more stressed and more excited when other horse and rider pairs are involved. I think some of that can be attributed to me getting more amped when there are other horse and rider pairs. You know how that goes, right?

Director Beau Gaughran consults with Caitlyn Taussin in Kremmling, CO

Many of us horse owners are also dog owners, so I’ll let you know that I’m also bringing up a young dog this year. His name is Chuck. He’s mostly border collie and he’s eight months old. He’s seeing some cows and has come along when we’re working them a few times. He knows down. He comes when he’s called. And he’s pretty excited about the cattle. I’ve been watching Chuck as he watches my adult dogs work. It’s pretty cool to see and be part of this on-the-job training. My job, as I see it, is to keep him safe and give him a long leash, figuratively speaking. That is, to not scold him too much when he does something wrong and to really praise him when he does something right, like staying in a down position even when he’d rather be getting after cows or moving a cow correctly and not overdoing it.

How has your summer been going?

As I’ve returned to podcasting responsibilities, I’ve been thinking about its title. Best Horse Practices.

Do you have any best horse practices that are top of mind lately?

Do you have any worst horse practices that are top of mind lately?

Beau Gaughran works on footage for Confluence: DogHorseCowHuman

I’m laughing here because I think very few of us are perfect all the time. I think, in fact, that many of us advocate for best practices, for being safe rather than sorry, for taking our time and doing it right, for being deliberate and intentional. But, at the end of the day, or sometimes, in the middle of the day, when rain has started and you’re tired from a fitful night, or stressed by too many things to do, well, we can slump toward worst horse practices. We might cut a corner or do something in haste, something we know better not to do, like tying a horse to something insecure (that would not stay put if the horse pulled back) or, like leaving a gate open because we’re coming right back. 9 times out of 10, we get away with it. But then there is always that time when you don’t.

I mentioned this to my friend, Jessica Munn, who helped me start Table and who I’ve mentioned before on this show. She had some great ones, which I’ll share here as a primer to get you thinking about these oops-y elements of your horse time:

– Inappropriate riding attire – like riding in Crocs.

– Riding alone without telling anyone where you’re going, when you should be back, or sharing your location.

– Using poor tack. Like cheap gear or gear that’s been weakened by overuse or weather. This kind of gear will fail you when a wreck unfolds or it might be the reason a wreck unfolds.

– Using treats.

– Tying knots that tighten when they get pulled on. That’s what “quick release” slip knots do. Instead, learn how to tie a bowline knot.

– Not training a horse to stand tied for long periods of time.

– Tying a horse by the reins.

– Getting in the trailer when loading a horse, instead of sending him in.

– Drinking alcohol and riding.

– Not putting enough time and practice into a horse and its work and then expecting things to go well.

– Having horses encroach on your personal space.

Essentail knot, the bowline

Thanks for these, Jess!

What are your worst horse practices?

Send them my way

Part of my summer this year has been busy with work as producer on Confluence: DogHorseCowHuman. That’s the working title of a short film project directed by Beau Gaughran (who, by the way, has filmed all the Best Horse Practices Summit presentations). Confluence tells the story of these four species and their intertwining lives on the range.

It will be a 10-12 minutes short film and we’ll be entering it in film festivals this fall. So stay tuned for more news around that.

Thanks to Redmond Equine and Pharm Aloe – for generously sponsoring our show. Check out Pharm Aloe’s aloe pellets which you can simply sprinkle on your horse’s feed and Redmond’s Rock on a Rope which you can simply hang on a fence. We think you’ll love ‘em.

Also thanks to Patagonia WorkWear for their continued support. Give us feedback, suggest a topic or guest, or make a donation and you’ll be automatically entered to win one of two free Patagonia WorkWear items that we give away every month. Redmond Equine is sending a complimentary syringe of Daily Gold Stress Relief to everyone who drops a tip in our donation jar. Pretty cool and a $15 value. If you get something of value from our podcast, please consider making a donation. We sure would appreciate it.

That’s it. Another episode in the can and out of the barn. Thanks for listening y’all.

Listen to Episode 1

Posted in Podcast, Training, Women.

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