I was watching some video of Bryan Neubert and Joe Wolter the other day. In each of the video segments I looked at, both men were working with a young horse, teaching it something new. They had a purpose for teaching the horse the particular task. They had a job in mind that they needed to prepare the horse for in a more controlled environment. It made me wonder if I was doing a good job of giving my horses a job.
Amy and I love working cattle horseback. Because of that, we often times think about what our horses can do in terms of what skill set they will need to work cattle successfully. Those of you that have attended our Cattle Working Clinics have heard us talk about the basics that a horse needs in cattle work; the ability to go forward at any speed when asked, the ability to stop quickly, the ability to move the front end and the hind end independently, and the ability to two-track or leg yield. Sounds pretty simple and yet we are always amazed at how many holes show up on cattle that we thought we had pretty good in the dry work. The job of working cattle has made us more particular about what we need fo focus on in our everyday riding. And, the job of working cattle has given our horses a purpose and a meaning to what we are asking of them.
Trail riders and arena rider too have jobs that their horses need to perform with accuracy and skill. When bringing along a young horse or getting acquainted with a new horse, it may be helpful to think of some of the trouble spots you’ve encountered before and ride to help prepare that horse for those spots. We certainly can’t predict everything we will run into in the jobs we do with our horses but, if we focus on finding ways to help our horses stay with us mentally and ways to direct their feet easily, we will have a head-start in helping them have fun on the job.
We hope that you have a good day on your job today!