We did it! She’s a cowhorse!
I led her in first to look at the cows in the holding area. She walked right over to them. Then she noticed that the cows had some good alfalfa that they weren’t interested in eating. So she spent some time trying to get her head through the bars to get the cows’ food. The observers said that she obviously wasn’t going to have any problems.
They started today with the sorting. The put up two smaller arenas with an opening between them. Eight cows (numbered 0-6 and one blank one) are let into one side. Two people on horses go in. The judge yells a number and they have to get the cows to move one at a time in order from one pen to the other starting with the number that was called. The blank cow needs to stay in the first arena.
Prize was fascinated. I was standing with the person who invited me to come. Prize would go from my right to his left to get better views of the cows as they moved. Then we saddled up and rode in to stand near the pens where the cows where. Every time they opened the gate to let the next team in, Prize would try to go in. She wanted at those cows.
Prize has lots of experience with cows on the other side of the fence but not much with cows in the same fence as her. One time when she broke into the dairy farm next door’s pasture a few heifers were following her around and they made her jumpy. So I still wasn’t exactly sure what she was going to do.
My team was made up of my friend, me, and a good person. The good person said that we should go slow to give Prize and me experience. Ideally in team penning you sort three cows out of the herd and take them to a pen on the other side of the arena. She said that if we didn’t have all three cows out when our time was almost done we should go put the cow we had in the pen anyway just for experience. She went into the herd first and got her cow out. It ran right past us and Prize didn’t even flinch. Then my friend went into the herd but his cow wouldn’t come out. So we went and penned the cow we had. Prize is pretty convinced I’ve lost my mind. I ride her mostly walk-trot and now I’m saying, “Turn, run!” She was like, “Are you sure? This isn’t in any dressage test I’ve ever seen.” We got a time (not a very good one) so she earned her first Working Western points for her Morgan achievement awards!!!
We even ended up 10th in our class. The top 10 re-run to determine final placings. We decided to do it again the same way. The good person went first and got her cow out. Then I saw the next one so I went after it. It turned back into the herd so I sent Prize into the herd to get it. She did well muscling her way through the cows. We got our cow singled out and turned towards the pen but then Prize spotted the VERY SCARY fence panels on that side of the arena and freaked. The cow noticed her lack of attention and ran around behind her. So we gave up and penned the cow we had. They encourage making noise in order to get the cows to run in front of you. I yelled at the cow and Prize got mad. She stopped dead. She thought I was yelling at her and she wasn’t having it. There was much pouting. I think we ended up 7th out of 13.
Then I went to be a herd holder. Two people bunch the cows up at the end of the ring so each team starts with the cows in the same position. There were three cows standing by the scary fence panels. Prize said, “Forget it. I’m not going over there. Besides you yelled at me.” Eventually we got them moved over.
So to sum up. Not afraid of cows. Very afraid of the left-side fence panels.
We also did a practice class but didn’t get to do much because my teams’ horses didn’t do well. It was fun though. I need to work on hooping and hollering while riding her. I have a month before the next one to practice.