Our Nod to the Northeast Oklahoma Ranch Roping Association

February 27, 2013

Real cowboys understand working livestock is not just about speed or competition. Genuine cowboys recognize working cattle quietly and safely is critical to the health of the animals and the ease of getting the job done. In the spirit of ranch roping, Oklahoma is fortunate to have a group of folks working to maintain those skills.

“The Northeast Oklahoma Ranch Roping Association was founded in 2008 by Iain Davis and Ryan & Rebecca Brand, as a means of promoting reata-style roping in the area. The directors are all working ranch cowboys, cowgirls, or buckaroos, and know the benefits of practical roping skills for low-stress cattle care. We have tried to organize a group of like-minded people who truly care about the humane treatment of stock, and who wish to learn, improve and practice with one another.”

One of most interesting aspects of ranch roping is how easy it looks as a spectator. The cowboy just sets on that horse and flicks the rope. It all happens in the blink of an eye and when done right is hardly noticed. The cowboy is quiet, the horse is calm, and the cow or calf isn’t even sure what happened. We appreciate the hard work these folks have put into trying preserve these skills and to educate others that want to learn. If you are interested in the ways real cowboys did their work, you should check these folks out.

Summer Intern 2013 Application Deadline Approaching

February 24, 2013

The deadline for Summer interns is quickly approaching. Every year we offer students enrolled in an equine college or school, the opportunity to work beside a professional horse trainer. The purpose is to let students interested in working in the industry have some first-hand experience actually training young horses. We don’t allow inexperienced students to break or ride horses above their ability. It is also not a program to clean stalls or do barn work. It offers young people the opportunity to learn directly from real life experience. If interested, send your resume by e-mail to horses@postoak.us.

Ranch Roping; A Lost Art

February 22, 2013

Ranch roping is nearly extinct. It is an art that few know anymore. Once a way of life for many a cowboy, it is rare to find one who knows how to use a rope while quietly working cows and livestock. The Buck Brannaman clinic coming in March describes the seminar as “As the name implies this class is designed to refine and improve rope skills – for both horse and rider – with regard to ranch related activities with stock from horseback. This class is not about timed event roping; rather it is about perfecting a variety of roping shots as well as proper positioning of the horse. Aspects of working cattle outside as well as arena roping are practiced with the ultimate intent of creating a calm and skilled approach to handling stock with a rope. Rider’s relative adeptness with a rope is a plus, but not required.” If you want a chance to see how it’s done, here’s your chance.

Green Country Ranch Roping Up and Running

February 17, 2013

The Green Country Ranch Roping group has set up their practice and training sessions. The group meets on Saturdays at 1:00pm to practice in Welch, Oklahoma. Focused on ranch roping, there is no team roping or running of livestock. There is also no rubber allowed on saddle horns, indicative of other ranch events. If you are interested in joining or want more information, you can look at Facebook’s Green Country Ranch Roping or contact Iain Davis iaindavis@ymail.com. He will be glad to give you more details and hope to see you there!

Horsemanship 1 With Buck Brannaman

February 13, 2013

Horsemanship 1 with Buck Brannaman may be the perfect clinic for you. The course outline gives the following description to help riders identify if the clinic suits their needs. “For the green horse and rider already comfortable in the snaffle bit along with aged horses needing continued work. This is the first stage of progressing into the bridle with all basic movements introduced. All levels of riders – no matter what discipline – will benefit. The class features strictly dry work – no cattle. All maneuvers stress the vaquero style of riding and are appropriate for horses from first level snaffle to experienced bridle horses. Hackamore horses welcome.”

Buck Brannaman Clinic in Grove, Oklahoma

February 8, 2013

Renown horse trainer, Buck Brannaman, is coming to Grove, Oklahoma. The clinic is scheduled for March 15 -18, 2013.  The sessions are Horsemanship 1 and a Ranch Roping. The fee for horse and rider is $700 for 4 days and $30 per day for auditors. Brannaman began his career starting young horses when he was 12 years old.  He has been heard to say that he has been bit, kicked, bucked off, and run over. “I’ve tried every physical means to contain my horse in an effort to keep from getting myself killed.” Later in life with more experience, he decided ” . . . things would come much easier for me once I learned why a horse does what he does.”

Undoubtedly, Brannaman has more information than anyone can absorb in just 4 days, but it a wonderful opportunity for Oklahoma horsemen to ride with one of the best in the business. If you are interested, you can go to his website http://brannaman.com/ or call Iain Davis 479-927-3688 for more information.

Boom Boom Bang!

February 4, 2013

Have you ever pulled in to a gas station or up to a traffic light next to someone hauling their horse and heard the horse pawing the sides or the floor. Sounds terrible and usually draws some funny looks from other people. It can be a little embarrassing depending on where you are and what else is happening.

So what can you do to stop it. Pillows tied to the front feet wear out pretty fast and cost quite a bit to replace. Besides who wants to climb into the trailer and tie the pillows to the horse’s feet anyway. Hope you haven’t tried the pillow thing and recognize we are just kidding.

Patience is a virtue. Some horses are naturally more patient than others, but patience can also be taught. You just have to be willing to spend the time and go to the trouble. If one of our horses is pounding the floor of the trailer, I am going to tell him to quit once or twice. If he keeps up, then some lessons in patience are going to be given.

A horse that should know better is going to spend the next 4 or 5 hours tied in the trailer while chores around the place are done. He can pound the floor till he goes deaf if he wants. Usually an hour or two of standing in the trailer gets some attention. The last thing you want to do is run over and back him out. If you do, you just taught him to do it again next time. It is analogous to a crying baby, if you race into the room and pick him up, he learns to cry. It gets him his way.

If you are concerned about the floor of your trailer ( ours are thick oak boards ), you can do some practice drills outside the trailer before you load. Spend a couple of evenings with your horse tied to the hitching rail or a tree. Tie the head with just enough slack to ensure comfort, but without enough rope to be able to move around. Walk away and let him paw the ground. Don’t untie him while he is acting like a spoiled baby. When he stops and learns to wait for you patiently, then pet him and turn him loose.

As a matter of safety, make sure there is nothing under his feet that can cause damage. Some horses can injure their legs or feet if objects are in the way. Also make sure you check on him every once in a while to make certain everything is okay. Obviously, you should never tie a horse in a trailer on a hot Summer day unless the ventilation is adequate.

Don’t give in to a tantrum or turn him loose until he shows progress or you will just make more problems for yourself. Patience is a wonderful thing in a horse and we haven’t seen one that couldn’t learn.

Training Doesn’t Always Go The Way You Expect

February 1, 2013

Horse training like a lot of jobs comes with some unexpected events. The kind of thing you watch happen and scratch your head wondering how you got there. We had one of those mornings recently. Planning to do some pack string work, five horses were saddled and tied in a row. With every thing in order and each horse tied to the one ahead of it,  the little pack string was started out the gate.

We have a couple of miniature horses that aren’t worth much and kept around as pets. We sort of inherited their care and let them stay for some reason. Forgetting that Smokey, a little grey horse, had gotten out earlier that morning, he decided to run towards the string of much bigger horses. All our horses are used to the miniatures and share the paddock with them from time to time.  They are used to seeing the little speed demon come charging up to them full tilt. ( He doesn’t run that fast, just likes to think he is speedy! )

He ran straight at P.J. who had been placed as the lead horse and was going to be ridden once outside the gate. Seeing the boldness of the little horse coming at him, he immediately planted both feet in the dirt and started backing up. Well, all the horses in the string have been properly trained and did exactly what they were supposed to do. They backed up. The last horse right into a water hydrant and over the top. Water started to spray.

Sure wish we had been running the video, it would have made a good one. A few hours later, new hydrant installed, the string was headed out the gate and down the road. Didn’ t plan to replace the water hydrant as part of the horse training. But horse training comes with lots of little unexpected moments. If we keep it up, we may have to find a good plumber.