Cowboy Curtain   Leave a comment

When I looked down at the round pen this afternoon, I could see something interesting was going on.

Boarders Brandi and Melissa had set up an obstacle sometimes called a “cowboy curtain”.  In order to understand why, you have to know a little background.

When I first heard of the “Extreme Cowboy Race”, I thought that it sounded like a really bad idea.  I was visualizing a flat-out race across country.  That’s not what it’s about, though.  I kind of think of it as cowboy eventing.  It’s a timed event, in which the horse and rider teams have to negotiate obstacles that might be met by a cowboy and his horse on the range.  They range from something as simple as dragging a log, to climbing a windmill while your horse (hopefully) waits below.  It’s a real test of training and cooperation between horse and rider.  For the last obstacle, the cowboy has to put his horse in a trailer, then sprint for the finish on foot.  Some of those old trainers are carrying a bit of extra weight around the middle . . . it’s entertaining to watch them run in cowboy boots.

Anyway, the cowboy curtain is just a curtain of plastic strips which the horse has to pass under.  It’s a common obstacle in Extreme Cowboy Racing, which the girls are interested in.  It sounds simple, but those plastic strips are scary to a horse, especially on a day like today.  The breeze kept shifting direction, so one moment the strips were blowing toward the horse, the next away.  It’s a good test of a horse’s training, trust, and confidence in his handler.  Very sensibly, they worked on leading the horses under first.  The roan colt was reluctant at first . . .

He finally went through without much trouble.

After that, everyone had to try it.  More about that tomorrow.

Dogs, in general, are brighter than horses  — or at least different.  I wondered about that this morning, though.  I got up and went to the window because I heard deep-throated barking outside, and I knew it wasn’t Xena’s soprano screeching or Rye’s diffident “Wuff”.  It was Skip, our resident pointer.  He was standing in the middle of the road barking savagely at something in front of him.  After a moment, I identified it as the piece of tarp that the other dogs had drug up yesterday.  Skip was creeping up on it, stopping every couple of feet to bay at it some more.  You’d think that his excellent pointer nose would have told him it was nothing alive, but no.  Finally he got close enough to realize his mistake.  He sniffed it carefully, almost visibly shrugged, and lifted his leg on it.

Maybe most bird dogs are bright, but I sure wonder about Skip.


Posted November 11, 2012 by stablewoman in Dogs, Horses

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