06.09.15: Even Cows like to Square Dance in the Rain

Yesterday started out same as always. It seemed a bit warmer which was a super relief. We started out with a very brief remuda, and I asked Lyla to check out Roscoe after lunch before we had to ride. She agreed and gave me a few suggestions and we made plans to meet up.

The morning started quickly with a talk from Linda. We recapped conference which was fun. Then she went on to talk a little bit about working with Pat, and how to handle it. She also selected two people to use as demos to show how to introduce your horse to the cow simulator. Lillan was selected to ride her horse in the demo, and another woman was selected to work on the ground.

Pat began his talk which lasted for ever and a day, but it was very informative. He rambled on about lots of sorts of things, which he is prone to do, but in the end I think we figured it out. We headed out to the arena for the demo and he brought in a simulator and began talking to us about cows. The simulators are big metal frame that is remotely cow shaped with skids in the front and two "legs" in the back that hang and swing. The front has a head that you can use to practice roping on the move as well. Pat was riding Cash, and asked Helen and Lillan to come into the arena.

He began to work with Helen first. She began circling her horse and moving around while Pat rode around with the simulator. Her horse was pretty upset about it at first, and had trouble focusing on much of anything. While Helen was working on that, Pat had Lillan ride around and do S-bends with her horse, turning slightly one way, and then bending back the other way. Pat began to ride in a circle around where Helen was working and encouraged her to ask her horse to follow the simulator. It wasn't long before the horse willingly reached out to touch the simulator. He moved over into more of the center of
the arena, and had Lillan circling around the simulator and Dsmo was really settling down quickly.

He finally brought the simulator over right in front of us, and Damo and the other horse stood next to it pretty quietly. Damo even went so far as to itch her face on the cow's head.

It was lunch at that point finally, and we hurried in to eat since we were already late. I finished up and headed up to feed Roscoe and then got myself organized. I headed down to the lodge to get my duster since the sky was threatening at that point, and managed to find Lyla all in the same sweep. She gave me a ride up to the pens and we checked out Roscoe. The prognosis was that he was a bit tender on the left side, but not un-rideable at all. She loaned me a Theraflex to try instead of the other pad as well. I left Roscoe eating his lunch and went down to get my duster attached to the back of my saddle plus get all my other stuff out, including the bridle which is what they recommended we ride in since one never knows with cows.

I checked the time and discovered that it was later than I expected and had to pull Roscoe away from his lunch so that I could get ready to go. I hustled to get things together and headed out to the playground to find the simulators. Everybody was mobbed around them, and so I carefully found a couple simulators to begin working with. Roscoe was cute rattling his nose and snorting with his eyes wide and ears forward. We played approach and retreat with the one battery operated one that was sitting still.

I finally managed to find one that was being drug by someone and we began to follow them a bit. He was quite curious though skeptical and read to move away at a moment's notice. We never really needed to thankfully, and he became quite bold. I took him down to the honeycomb and we got ready to ride. I climbed up and then we began following after the simulators, which handled with ease.

I stopped Sandra on the ground to ask her what exactly it was that was rubbing the hair off of Roscoe's sides, and found out that it was the back of the stirrup leathers where the nylon had the holes punched in it for the buckles. She told me to do the same thing she does and wrap it with the vet wrap to keep those rough edges from rubbing him raw.

We rode around for a while more before Jesse made the call for everyone to gather in the Arena Grande. We all herded over and began moving around a bit to work on turns and backing. There were so many of us in the arena, Pat arrived, and called for us to horseshoe up, and then showed us some beginning exercises that would help us work on the cattle.

He lined up 6 people, 3 facing 3, and then taught us to back up while the other line approached, and then back and turn to the side. We might as well have been do-si-doing for all that it mattered. We broke up into groups, and began to work on our patterns, backing and turning to the side to always face the cows. We began to circle after that, and worked on trotting around in a circle, walking, stopping and then backing up and making a turn to the inside to go the opposite direction. We all danced pretty darn well all together. We had the old gentleman Bill in our group who was hard of hearing, so it was a bit of a challenge to make sure everybody heard which way we were going.

Pat asked all of us to head out to the outside of the arena and wait with our horses facing the fence while he brought in the cows. He walked them around the perimeter of the arena so that our horses could get close to them to see how they would react. Everyone did well, and as I expected, Roscoe was un-phased.

Pat called in 2 groups to begin practicing, and we worked on staying in a V formation to move the cattle around. The first group pushed them to us, and then our group was asked to push them up to the other corner of the arena. By this time it was raining well enough and the temperature had dropped quite a bit. I was thankful for my duster and the extra protection from the wind and cold.

We left and stayed and watched all the other groups. By the time all of us had gone, Roscoe was quite antsy and bored. Pat allowed us to stay and work more if we chose to do so, so Roscoe and I hung out for a bit and got to push the cattle around again. Jesse set
up a barrel and a cone and the object was to move the cows around and get one to put its nose on the barrel.

While we were waiting we asked if we could practice, so Jesse decided to be a cow and challenge us a bit. And that was plenty of a challenge. Jesse was good though because he could give us feedback as to where we should have been and what we should have done.

We got our turn to go again and it was a lot of fun to move the cows around and it felt great when the cow touched it. At that point it was cold and damp and high time to head in. The dinner bell had already rung so we headed off.

About the time I got Roscoe all settled, the rain hit again. I managed to book it in a lull and made it to the lodge before the rain poured again.

The showers are cold again; there just seem to be too many people here. Hopefully that will settle down soon. Tonight there is a trip to the hot springs calling...

Next Page: Saturday, September 16, 2006: Ending Up Warm