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cattle | The Trick Ponies of Chincoteague

Posts Tagged ‘cattle

Herding Cows on Horseback

Last month we took Blitz and Boomerang on a long trailride in one of the nearby nature preserves. Little did we know it would end up being one of our favorite adventures ever when we happened upon some loose cattle.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

The further down the trail we got, the more cattle we started to see. We figured they had gotten out of someone’s pasture, but we weren’t sure where they belonged. We were DYING to herd them somewhere (just like real cowgirls) but it just didn’t seem like it was meant to be.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

As we made our way towards home we couldn’t help ourselves with herding a few into a small cluster.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

While we were taking the obligatory “cow selfie” the farmer who owned said cattle popped up over the hill in his truck to see our little cluster of cattle. Seeing that we were DYING to take our littler herd somewhere the farmer asked us if we minded helping him drive them back to their pasture. Um yes please! He didn’t have to ask us twice!

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Check out the video: Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

Blitz and Boomerang chased stray cattle, moved them through a water crossing, and got them all safely back in their pasture.

Herding Cows the Cowgirl Way with Painting Pony

When you live on the east coast (at least near us) herding cattle like this is not something you get to do everyday, especially in a real “farm” setting! It was a dream come true for us.

The farmers were very thankful for our helpful ponies, and we had the best trailride ever! If anyone else wants to “accidentally” let their cattle escape, you can totally call on the Painting Ponies to help you round them up!

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Boomer tries Team Penning

Lately we have been doing a lot of cattle work. We’ve gone to a couple ranch sorting clinics and we’ve even tried some team penning. Boomer has really started to enjoy chasing cows, and I think my favorite of them all is the team penning!

Here’s a short video of Boomer trying some team penning, this is only his 4th time on cattle.

Team Penning // Painting Pony

On this particular trip we even brought along my sister’s mare for her first time on cattle. She was a natural and jumped right in to chasing cows.

Team Penning // Painting Pony

Perhaps someday we’ll get our own cattle on the farm, because it seems all the ponies really enjoy moving them around!

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Adventures in Ranch Sorting

Last weekend we took a trip to Double Rock Farm to attend a beginner Ranch Sorting Clinic with Blitz and Boomer. You might remember that we’ve been to Double Rock before, where I introduced Boomer to his first cow.

Ranch Sorting at Double Rock // Painting Pony Adventures

Ranch Sorting at Double Rock // Painting Pony Adventures

Ranch Sorting at Double Rock // Painting Pony Adventures

Both ponies picked back up where we had left off last fall (before my knee surgery) and I think they both enjoyed bossing the cows around.

I noticed that Boomer really likes being able to move the cows with some speed, so I’m very much interested to try some team penning soon – which is a little bit more of a faster paced sport.

Below is a video of Boomer’s first time on the cows that day. I find the hardest part in Ranch Sorting is thinking ahead to where that cow might end up when you start to move it. But I know this will just improve the more we’re able to practice…..now if I could just talk my parents into getting some cattle on the farm!

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Chincoteague Ponies try Ranch Sorting

A few weeks ago we took Blitz and Boomer on their very first adventure with cattle! Boomer was actually the first to make the leap into becoming a cow pony when I took him to a beginner Ranch Sorting Clinic at Double Rock Farm in Maryland.

This was a first for both me and him, as I really have absolutely no background in western riding (other than the new maneuvers and western riding lessons I took before the Extreme Cowboy Race last year) and as far as I know Boomer has never met a cow in his life.

Painting Pony // Ranch Sorting at Double Rock Farm // Chincoteague Ponies

I really had no idea what to expect, but I thought Boomer might approach the cows quite cautiously at first. But before Boomer could even have his first look at a cow we started out on foot. We went into the pen of cows (without horses) to learn how to move them ourselves. This was a great way to learn which way the cows would go and how they move as a group – something I hadn’t thought much about previously.

Ranch Sorting is an event that pits a team of two riders on horseback against the clock. Teamwork is the key with both riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle in numerical order and drive them to the pen while keeping the wrong numbered cattle back.

Painting Pony // Ranch Sorting at Double Rock Farm // Chincoteague Ponies

So after learning more about Ranch Sorting and learning how the cows moved it was time to see what the horses would do. Boomer was the first to go, and I cautiously approached the cows in the pen as they called out a numbered cattle for me to sort out. As we got closer and closer to the cows I was surprised at how calm Boomer was, and when we ended up face to face with one of them I was shocked when Boomer’s first reaction was to reach out and touch his nose to the cow’s face. I asked him to move into the cows and they began to scatter, this thrilled Boomer as he quickly caught on that he was in charge. He began tossing his head and making faces at the cows to move them along faster – and he was really enjoying himself.

I was thrilled he took to the cows so quickly, and I think a lot of it all comes back to our clicker training. When we approach objects or things Boomer is unsure of, I ask him to touch them with his nose – when he does so he’s rewarded for being brave. So his gut reaction to meeting a cow for the first time was not one of flight, but curiosity as he touched his face hoping this was the correct reaction I wanted out of him.

We had a blast at Double Rock Farm, and a few weeks later we returned (this time with Blitz too) for a Ranch Sorting practice. Blitz is a lot more cautious than his younger brother Boomer, but it didn’t take him long to figure out that the cows were not to be feared. By the end of the night both ponies were happily moving the cows around, even in and out of their pens when it was time to bring in a new herd.

Painting Pony // Ranch Sorting at Double Rock Farm // Chincoteague Ponies

Painting Pony // Ranch Sorting at Double Rock Farm // Chincoteague Ponies

Painting Pony // Ranch Sorting at Double Rock Farm // Chincoteague Ponies

Ranch Sorting was so much fun that we’re already making plans to try Team Penning and can’t wait to get the boys into some regular cow work. So what about you, ever try a western sport after being an english rider for all your life? Any other Chincoteague Pony Ranch Sorters out there?

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