Tuesday, May 28, 2013


We went sorting again on Sunday - yipee!

Ignorant, Wet, Pony.
After the long weekend, and my many truck problems, Jingle got a bit of a bigger break than I wanted, or he needed. I came out Thursday and he was just being his annoying nut-job self, dancing and prancing and just generally being a goof. Add that in with the fact he looked like a drowned rat. He didn't have his rain sheet on and when I went out to get him he was soldiering through a large bale of hay, whilst all the other horses shivered and shook in their boots. The second I took him inside and paid him any mind, he became a shivering, quivering "MAHM I AM ABUSED" mess. I put his cooler on and warmed him up while he annoyed me some more. At this point I did not want to get on my horses back, and so instead I spent a long time grooming him, and chatting with a girl at the barn. I said I'd come tomorrow and ride, nope, didn't happen, truck problems. sigh. So Saturday I went out and rode and he was pretty good, he's had almost three weeks off from arena work, and apparently has forgotten how to stand when I get on... but other than that slightly annoying issue he was good.

Sunday I got to the barn, gave him a quick groom and let him graze while we waited for our ride to the sorting. Apparently, along with forgetting how to stand, he has also forgotten how to load onto a trailer... the joys of Jingle. After a lot of ramp-dancing and general idiotness, "I bet you if I go backwards really fast mahm wont be able to hold on", jokes on you Jingle, he loaded calmly and nicely... why can't my horse be one or the other, why does he have a split personality?

Sunshineee after a long week of rain

"No, you know, I really don't think I should have to go anywhere today..."

He warmed up really nicely in their arena, he LOVES new places, he fixates on new things and new people and their horses. Such an odd duck. Once we were all done our warm-up the owner of the barn came out and said that because not a lot of people had called in advance they hadn't set up the cows for sorting, so instead he thought it would be fun and beneficial for everyone to run a bit of a sorting-clinic. It was wicked!

We started out by walking our horses calmly through the herd, "cutting" them in half, and paying the cows no mind. This was a good exercise for the less experienced horses because it allowed them to move slowly and give them time, but also show them that cows do infact generally move out of the way of them. For the more experienced horses it gave them some well-needed "slow" time with cows. (Except for one lady who felt the need to spin and lope and sliding stop her horse every two minutes the entire day... there is always one.. I honestly think that learning to be "slow" has been my greatest accomplishment this year). Jingle started out a bit frazzled and rushed but by the fourth or fifth time he settled calmly into walking through and amongst the herd. The man running it commented on how nice it was that he calmed down so easily. I had to giggle to myself.

Rex, Caron's dog came along for the ride - team mascot.
From there we started to practice sorting, because none of the cows were numbered we were allowed to pick our own cows out and sort whatever we wanted to. They also never DQ'd us, so we were allowed to keep going if two cows slipped through, or whatever. It was nice because we basically had all the time in the world to pick our cows, sort, and work together. Similarily to last time, we were reminded to not "barrel turn" our horses but to always use our legs and focus on maintaining straight lines between ourselves, our horses and the cows.

We ended up getting a chance to sort twice, and then we split into two groups and got to work cows one on one. They set it up so that we could go into the herd, split our cow and then practice fencing and turning it. This was definintely Jingle's weak spot, with sorting I think he enjoys the energy and understands somewhat what he is suppose to be doing, however, he is definitely not cow-ey. He listens more to me (not complaining) than to what the cow is doing, thus, with one on one work with a cow I don't think he quite understood what I wanted of him, and that made him frusterated. We had a couple head-tosses and "Hey mister, when I say stop, you stop" moments. I tried to keep it as slow and calm as possible, but it's hard when your cow is slipping away. Aside from that Jingle was not as responsive to my legs as he could have been, or I know he can be, and it caused us to lose our cow a couple times.

The lovebirds, watching the first set of cows come in
From there, we sorted two more times, our third sort was definitely our best. I made a conscious effort to pick cows that were not the easiest to choose because in sorting you never know where your next numbered cow will be. This, obviously proved a bit of difficulty but Jingle did really well and was, once again, listening to me more. Finally, our fourth sort was new cattle and most of the other people opted out. The cows were brutal, they were pushy and bargey and kept creeping up towards our "gate", quite a few times we had to sort of stop what we were doing and push them back, re-group, and go again, but they were definitely not cooperative. That was a good lesson too, sometimes you have bad herds and bad cows, and you just have to work with what you got. Caron and I definitely were not expecting the cows to be that rotten.

When we went to load up Quiz and Jingle, my horse once again decided he didn't know how to load onto a trailer. It was quite embarassing. A couple of people came and circled around, and one guy grabbed a lariat and placed it around his rump and guided him into the trailer. I was hesistant to just hand my horse off to someone I didn't know, and it kind of annoyed me that he just up and grabbed Jingle from me, but he was really calm and controlled about the whole thing, and it worked well. I think next time we trailer I may have to employ the lunge-line through the door method with my horse to teach him that this new-found behaviour isn't acceptable. However, I was just woefully unprepared for his antics on that particular day.

A part of me get's a little twinkling of frusteration though, no-one that's new to something likes to have people oggle their misbehaving horse. Of course, my horse is the only paint there, sticks out like a thumb, doesn't have a drop of cow-sense or cow-blood and is bitless. A part of me always get's a sinking feeling in my stomach when people eye-up my sidepull contraption and then when jingle is being pushy or bad I know some of them are thinking, "why wouldn't that silly girl put that horse in a bit". I know why he's not in a bit and that's really all that matters to me at the end of the day, but i'm allowed to have my moments of grumblegrumblegrumble if I want haha.

So, aside from our little loading fiascos at the start, and at the finish, I am once again very proud of my horse. I love the fact you can take him somewhere new and he does great, that is such a great quality, and for the most part he remained calm and listened to me throughout the day. Another great sorting under our belt, and the mini-clinic was such a wonderful way to work on some things, and try other techniques I may have been too nervous to do in a timed and speedier situation.


  1. Trax pulls that crap every once in a while. I ask once and if he pulls back I give him a second and ask again. If he pulls back again, then there is no more asking, no pleading, not even a discussion. I very calmly take him away from the trailer and sidepass him from the ground in both directions. Then I ask him to load and suddenly it is the best idea ever. It works with every horse I have.
    Who cares if people think your side pull looks funny. It is what he needs, and they don't have to ride him.
    I would love to try sorting, it really looks like a lot of fun.

  2. That looks like so much fun!! Lilly is terrified of cows, but I'd love the chance to take her somewhere and see how she does when forced to be face to face with them.

    Loading is such a sensitive thing with horse people. I never help people who are having loading issues unless I'm asked because it never goes well. I'm not surprised someone walked up and took your horse, though.

    And wait, I'm sorry... did you say your horse is bitless?? Oh the humanity!! I feel your pain, being a hoof boot lady and all. We're just a couple of weirdos, you and I. ;)

    1. I feel like it's a different sort of thing when they are in pens that small with them, also, they learn quickly that the cows (for the most part) move away from them. When they are in big fields I think cows appear much more menacing. haha.

      I agree, I would never either, and honestly he had him loaded by the time I could interject and grab him back, and he did it all very safely, quietly and carefully, but it just caused me even more embarassment and frusteration.

      Yep, I'd say! Just two horse-freaks. :)

  3. I wouldnt worry about what other people think, they dont know you or your horse and I guess that guy who helped you load knew what he was doing so thats kinda nice to have that kind of help. Often times I find if I am having trouble everyone just kinda looks away and leaves me alone to fight and THAT is frusterating. But I do understand, you shoulda seen the looks when I took my paint horse in my ranch saddle to a cutting clinic, lol. The clinician looked at me like I was crazy but never said anything and helped me where I was at and at the end he gave me the biggest compliment by saying he thinks I might have a cutting horse there. He did say a cutting saddle would help and she was/is very cowy but he was sure suspicious when I showed up, lol. And Doug too I took her there in my hackamore and thought he would laugh me all the way home and the first thing he said to me before I even got on her was "is she for sale, I would like a black and white turnback horse?" I was shocked, so just as many people were probly jealous of your horse and thought you were nuts :)