Cattle Drive and Beginner Cow Working Clinic
If you've always wanted to work cattle with your horse but didn't know how to start, this clinic is for you! No previous cow work or roping experience is necessary. This clinic is open to any type of horse. English or Western riders of all ages and skill levels are welcome.
Even if you never plan on working with cattle you will develop a much more responsive and handy horse by giving him the opportunity to work cattle, plus you'll have lots of fun! We'll go slow and start with the basics.
On Friday at 1:00 PM we will gather on horseback at the B & W Plantation horse barn. (From the intersection of Pleasant Valley Rd and Mt. Paran Church Rd turn south on Mt. Paran Church Rd and look for signs directing you to the horse barn). The horse barn will be our headquarters for the whole clinic. You may park and camp there along with stabling your horse there.
We will have a short orientation before riding out on the open range to gather and move several herds of cattle to different pastures. This round-up and cattle drive will take a few hours.
In the beginning some horses may be nervous and frightened near the cattle. We will first work through this by going slow and maintaining distance from the herd until the horses are accustomed to seeing the cattle then we will move as close to the herd as your horse is comfortable. If your horse is worried we will pair him with a buddy horse and rider that is experienced with cows until your horse gains confidence in approaching the herd and moving the cows. In this way your horse gradually learns he is is dominant over the cow. When he knows the cow will not attack him and he can move the cow away, the horse gains confidence and the cow work becomes fun for him.
Many thanks to Whitney Granberry for producing this video
On Saturday 9:00 – 5:00 we will be working with the cattle in pastures and corrals. This is not for rodeo or competitive sport. We will be teaching and practicing "low stress stockmanship” for practical ranch work skills. We may do some penning, sorting and cutting, not as a timed event but rather the way a real working cowboy handles his daily tasks.
The riders may be grouped into “ranch crews” and assigned tasks that require teamwork and good horsemanship. Tasks could include such things as dividing the herd, taking certain cows to a different location and holding them there, sorting selected cows away from the herd, putting selected cows in a corral, taking cows through gates and obstacles, and holding or driving the herd in the open without using the fence or corners.
We will be doing lots of gathering of various herds, driving and sorting in the open throughout the day. This will be a weekend of real ranch cow work. We will have this clinic rain or shine so come prepared for all types of weather.
Cow work develops a much better communication and partnership with your horse. Your horse will learn how to listen to your cues and move responsively. Working with cattle gives your horse a practical reason for listening to you, really using his body to become more athletic and coordinated and moving in a variety of ways quickly, smoothly and under control with your direction. Riders will learn to properly execute specific movements which are necessary to be successful in ranch and cattle work including turn-on-the-forehand, turn-on-the-haunches, rein back, side-pass, leg yield, roll back, quick gait transitions and solid stops.
If riders are interested and if time permits, we can offer beginner roping instruction from the ground on roping dummies and then from the saddle.
Quote from Ed about this clinic:
Here are a few testimonials from participants in our past Cow Working Clinics:
I had a great time at the Cow Working clinic this week-end. I learned a lot about riding, horses, the history of riding, life on a ranch and being a cowboy in the west, and more. I appreciate your approach to horses and teaching. After a nervous start, my horse Brisco seemed to love it, especially cutting one cow out of the herd. That just seemed to line up with his personality.
Thank you again for a great clinic.
Ed, Just wanted to thank you again for your help this weekend at the Cow Clinic. It was a lot of fun, greatly benefitted my horse -- and may have saved me or someone else from serious injury due to his fear of cows. When we left, he saw all of the new cows in the front pasture. He was on high alert, but he was manageable and not dangerous!
Ed, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoyed the clinic. Daniel and I were so proud of Spirit!…I hope you were too. Your cowboy assistants were so knowledgeable and patient with everyone, they were a wonderful asset for you. Thanks a bunch,
One of the longest lasting lessons I will take away from this past weekend was that I gained so much self-assurance in tackling something new. I never once worried about what my horse was doing. I never felt disconnected with him. I felt as one with him and that is a great feeling. This speaks volumes as to how well the overall clinic was conducted.
You, Jim, and Richard gave us all some great homework assignments. My birthday wish list includes a new Ed Dabney saddle pad and a rope!
Open Range Cow Working Clinic in Finland - September 2012
Slideshow Cow Working Clinic in Finland - May 2012