1. An event held to simulate a show, so three year old cutting horses can have "show-experience" before their first show experience - the Fort Worth Futurity... "The Futurity".Also:
2. A way to completely burn out your lopers before you run them absolutely ragged before "The Futurity".3. A fun way to bring out the most innerest hell-demon in your most mildest and meekest three year old.
Our First Pre-Work was last week, and will from here on out be deemed...
We headed to a client's ranch near Brady, Tx to have a sort of private pre-work with just our horses, and then some of theirs that they still have at their house. A way to test the waters before we headed to pre-works with other trainers.
We woke up at a really awesome time...
& we left, and drove the entire way there with some really spectacular light...
& I was really just over-joyed with the entire concept of a 2:30 am wake-up call...
No. No I was not. The above statements were dirty lies.
Our very stalled, very sheltered three-year olds (we brought 18 in total), were for the most part put in outdoor runs, which caused them to become over-joyed bucking machines... "Oh my god, we are outside, and we are somewhere new and we should just run blindly around..."
Here are Floyd and Jake looking like cute little friendly three year olds, later on in the morning these two would both try to turf my ass multiple times...
& that, my friends, was the general theme for the entire first day of the South Texas Pre-Work... "let's try to turf these lopers asses". I kid you not, I did not have ONE uneventful ride. My sweet little babies turned into absolute HELL DEMONS and by the end of the day my nerves were rattled and my shoulder muscles were so tense I wondered if my body would ever feel normal again.
Atleast South Texas was very pretty...
I could look out on some gorgeous scenery while my three year olds ran around like they'd never been ridden before.
Even my most dependable, most loving stallion Jacko (and most laziest... the most laziest...), farted, and scared himself and bucked. COME ON.
However, as one would think, South Texas taught us a lot of things about our little hell-devils... We had to start to figure out how to properly calm each one down due to personality.
For the ones that were just being evil (okay they were just being very fresh, excited, and feeding off eachother), there was "the game". See, a lot of the time, our little shitheads would think it was acceptable to try to run us into arena walls... "The Game" is what I also like to call "The Breezing Game". It takes a bit of guts and courage and hold onnnnnn, but basically what you do is get those little buggers going as fast as they can, the rules are you just let them run, turn them only when necessary and stay out of their way. They will run, and run, and run, and run, and when they begin to slow down because they figure out that your not going anywhere and they don't realistically like pretending to be racehorses you say "NOPE" and keep them going. Finally, when YOU decide that they are done pretending to be secretariat, you slow them right now and let them walk and think about their evil ways. "The Game" got pretty western a few times (a saying I love dearly... meaning: a little bit scary) but worked like a charm for every horse I had to do it on. The next day those little racehorses decided they realistically wanted to go back to extended-trot champions.
Then there were our genuinely very nervous, very timid, very scared crew... for them.. lots of pets and lots of slow stuff. They take off... you take them into a corner and trot small circles, widening those circles until they are less scared. You take your legs and spurs out of the equation, you get nice and quiet and calm and you work really slow until they figure out that this new arena isn't going to eat them. Then you can pick up the speed, but for the most part you can't pick on them, and you need to let them figure it out for themselves.
& for those times when you really feel like your about to hit the dirt... this arena was marvelous because the centre was much deeper due to them working cows on the outside. So, you would send those naughty ponies right to the middle and they'd quit fighting you because they'd have to fight the dirt instead.
By day two, most of our hell-demons were reformed, and by day three... all of a sudden we had progress and some budding show horses. What's up now?!
Here's the crew - slinkie and sheeted up on the afternoon of day three - waiting to be loaded and taken back to home... where "The Game" does not exist.
My fellow loper and I were quite happy with the end result, but let me tell you... that first day of South Texas is not a day that my body can repeat for quite some time... no thank you. Mostly, all I could think of was Fort Worth, and the stress that comes with it. I've begun to call it the "Fort Worth Flu"... aka... the sickness that is, "WHAT if our three year olds are like this at "The Futurity", this cannot happen to me."
Oh and how do you know you work at a cutting barn...?
Chipped nail polish, hands that look 20 years older than you and of course - elastics as accessories.
Gotta keep those tails up and off the ground!
& final tip of the day: How to tell if someone is "in the know"... after someone rides a horse at one of these things the proper question is not "how did it go?" or "how was the ride?", it is "How was your work?" - cutter lingo ya'll.