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western | The Trick Ponies of Chincoteague

Posts Tagged ‘western

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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2012 Trick Pony Goals

Happy New Year Everyone!

happy new year from minnow

Last year we made a list of goals for 2011, so it’s come that time where we look back and see how close we came to accomplishing all of them. We’ve also whipped up a whole new set of goals for 2012.

2011 Goals:

1. Take some western riding lessons with Boomerang. It seems writing out my 2011 goals really started a fire under me, because in January of 2011 I took Boomerang to his very first western lesson with a local trainer.

boomer extreme cowboy race

2. Push myself past my comfort zone and compete in something I’ve never done before. In February of 2011 I took Boomerang to the Horse World Expo to compete in Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy Race. This was one of the most nerve racking/intense things I have ever done on horseback. I was never so nervous in my life, but I’m so glad that Boomer and I pushed past the scary stuff and tried something new. It has made us both so much stronger, and we even made it to the finals – placing 6th! Boomer and I also tried a whole bunch of new things this past year, like riding on the beach, trail challenges, mounted shooting, and even some cowboy events.

boomer extreme cowboy race

3. Teach Minnow to sit or lay down. Well, this is one of those things that I didn’t quite accomplish. I started to teach Minnow how to lean onto his bean bag chair this year, but eventually the summer craziness happened and things got pushed to the back burner. However, I did begin to capture Boomerang’s “sit” when he begins to get up from the laydown. Hopefully this year we will be able to perfect the cue even more!

boomer sit

4. Fine tune Boomerang’s cues for bow and lay down. Recently I just started perfecting Boomer’s cue for bow, and he’s finally started to go down to the ground without my help. He probably would have mastered this a lot sooner had I found the time to work with him, but better late than never!

5. Train some more tricks using the pedestal. This year I began training Boomerang to stand with all 4 feet on the pedestal. Admittedly I haven’t been good about documenting his progress, mostly because we’ve been training in the dark! But hopefully soon I’ll be able to get his progress on video to share.

minnow on pedestal

6. Teach Minnow a brand-new trick skit for Pony Penning 2011. This past year Minnow performed his new “Super Pony Picnic” skit during Pony Penning. I thought it was one of his best skits to date. We’re hoping soon to put all of Minnow’s skits on DVD, just as soon as my filmmaker brother has some more availability! Perhaps this coming Summer.

7. Teach Ammo the Dachshund a skit he can perform alone. Ammo performed his new skit with his pal, Trooper at the 2011 Keystone Dachshund Races. Super Ammo vs. Super Trooper was a big hit, and I still laugh when I see Ammo in his cute little super helmet and cape.

ammo keystone dachshund races

8. Take Blitz on an outing (Dressage, Paperchase, Mounted Games, Tricks, etc). My mom really stepped up Blitz’s training this year and took him on a bunch of new adventures, like mounted shooting cowboy events and riding on the beach. We’re both looking forward to trying even more with the boys in 2012!

9. Paint with the boys more often. To date the boys have painted over 180 paintings, and this year Minnow painted even more during outings like the Ludwigs Corner Horse Show and The Dog Days of Summer event. Hopefully the boys will get to spend lots more enjoyable time painting in 2012.

painting

10. Read a training book (or video) and teach one skill from it. Ok, so I sorta failed on my reading list goal – but it was much more tempting to spend time with the boys on the farm just having fun.

11. Teach Boomerang flying lead changes, rollbacks, and a better sidepass. Boomerang mastered all three of these skills in a matter of 6 weeks as we were training for the Extreme Cowboy Race. He’s such an amazing pony, and so smart!

boomer extreme cowboy race

12. Read Misty of Chincoteague…again! Right before I took Minnow to visit the Renaissance School Academy I re-read Misty of Chincoteague, always the classic!

 

2012 Goals:

1. Teach the ponies how to Spanish Walk.

2. Begin taking steps towards writing a book. (Something that has been on my mind for a while now).

3. Introduce Boomerang to cows.

4. Take one picture a month for the ponies’ 2013 Calendar!

5. Teach Minnow a fun new “party” trick he can use at expos and fairs.

6. Take the ponies swimming at Marsh Creek more often.

7. Ride on the beach again.

8. Become more regular at posting on the blog and to our facebook page.

9. Teach the ponies how to pull/drive.

10. Build a new obstacle for the ponies to play with out on the trail.

 

So what about you? Any new goals to strive for this year? Anyone know where I can introduce Boomerang to cattle in the Chester County, PA area?

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Story Teller’s Birthday Party

This is Story Teller

I met Story when she was just a few weeks old at the 2010 Chincoteague Pony Auction in Virginia. Little did I know then, but she had been bought by someone in my hometown – and in the fall she would be on her way to live in Pennsylvania.

Story - 2010 Chincoteauge Pony Auction

Story - 2010 Chincoteague Pony Auction

On July 10th I attended Story’s First Birthday Party. You can’t tell my boys, because they would be highly jealous!

All of Story’s friends came to her party.

Story even had a special Birthday cake just for her.

Of course she shared her treats with her friends.

This is Sam Brown, Story’s trainer. He is also the same trainer that my mom has been using to work with Blitz.

It was such a great party for a lucky lucky girl. Wishing you many more Happy Birthdays!

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June Extreme Cowboy Challenge

Last weekend we took Boomer and Blitz to an Extreme Cowboy Challenge about an hour from us at JC Cutting Horses. We had never been there before – and this is a different type event, not to be confused with Craig Cameron’s Extreme Cowboy RACE.

The Extreme Cowboy RACE is more a RACE, with emphasis on speed AND the horse’s willingness to maneuver obstacles. Extra points are given for above and beyond as well. The event we attended was a series put on by JC Cutting Horses, where they actually prefer you to do most obstacles very slowly. Scores are given based on the horse’s performance only – and how versatile they appear. You could also earn extra points for showing off extra maneuvers your horse might be able to do.

I had a little bit of a tough time remembering it wasn’t a race. Boomer is a RACING pony, so naturally our canter gaits are much faster than they probably should have been for this type of event. I also kept forgetting that unlike the Craig Cameron EXCR, you did not have a time limit to perform an obstacle.

I entered Boomer into the intermediate division and was looking forward to trying the open division and even the ranch riding division – which boasted roping a mechanical bull as well as more advanced maneuvers. Unfortunately we didn’t realize they didn’t have a food booth at this event, and by 2pm my mom and I were starving. So we opted to head home early – so we could get something to eat.

It ended up being a really fun day, and we met lots of nice people. I’m very much looking forward to coming back to their next one – and I’m dying to give the mechanical bull a try, I’ve even been practicing my roping.

I’m not sure what we ended up placing – as they only announce 1st & 2nd (the jackpot winners) – but we more went for the experience anyway. Even Blitz participated in the schooling session with my mom – I’m going to work on a short video of him soon, showing just how much progress he’s made in the past few months. His transformation is amazing and my mom has put so much effort into making him a nice pony.

Here’s a short video of the highlights of my ride with Boomer.

We’re hoping to pick some dates for the farm to have a gymkhana/extreme cowboy type event soon. We’ve been gathering some ideas with all the places we’ve been going to lately and can’t wait to host our own show at the farm!

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