Rogers Co. Sheriff Certifies Pete & Jack: Level 1 MSAR

December 6, 2013

PeteThe Rogers Co. Sheriff Department has certified Pete and Jack, two of our AQHA quarter horses, for the mounted search and rescue “MSAR” patrol. Both received approval for Level 1 Certification, this means they are approved to be called for any situation at any time. There are three levels for horse certification in the department. Level 1 is the highest certification available and approves the horse for all situations. Level 2 means the horse is certified for limited operations and by approval in only limited situations. Level 3 is certification to attend training events, but no field operations. Level 3 is intended for horses that have potential, but need additional training before use in a real life event. There were a number of applicants that received no certification as the horses were not qualified for the program.

A separate certification is required for each volunteer to serve as a reserve officer for the MSAR operations. We are happy to announce Shawn McKibbin received his certification as a responder and serves on an “immediate” call basis. Shawn oversees the training program at Post Oak Ranch and spends a lot of his time teaching young horses the ropes. The crossover from the routine daily training to develop trustworthy trail horses to certified MSAR mounts is a natural one. Our horses must pass a number of internal tests for soundness, stamina, disposition, and ability, many of the same attributes required for search and rescue horses. We insist that our horses be “using horses” and “working animals” ready for a variety of activities including MSAR operations.

JackSome of you will no doubt recall Jack was used in a search and rescue operation during the first year in our training program and located a lost little boy. He has keen hearing and pays attention to his surroundings. The boy was heard by Jack over the noise of helicopters, 4-wheelers, and a full-scale search and rescue operation. He alerted Shawn who had been requested to assist by local law enforcement. When Jack became interested in something that could be neither seen nor heard with human senses, Shawn turned the direction of Jack’s focus to investigate further. The little boy was found a short while later resulting in some greatly relieved parents.

Congratulations to Shawn for qualifying the horses and himself! He will be a real asset to the Sheriff’s mounted patrol posse!

Trail Challenges and Mounted Patrol Qualifications have Similarities

October 22, 2013

Sunday afternoon two of our horses, Pete and Jack, went to the Rogers Co. Sheriff department’s qualification test to see if they were a good fit. They were. Interestingly, the trail challenge obstacles courses we blog about from time to time are not all that different. Both are designed to test the horse and rider to see if obstacles will pose a problem. Clearly the last thing the Rogers Co. Sheriff needs is an accident involving someone trying to help. While the Sheriff needs your help and assistance, he has enough on his hands in a search and rescue operation to deal with. He doesn’t need untrained horses in the mix.The qualification process is designed to eliminate horses that are not suitable before the next emergency. Horses that are not calm, cool and collected aren’t appropriate. We learned some applicants try to apply for service using horses that may perform well in some event or show ring, but not in search and rescue operations as they are just too high-strung and jazzed up. Search and rescue from horseback, “MSAR” short for Mounted Search and Rescue demands horses that don’t spook, aren’t afraid of unusual situations, and ready to work hard to find a missing child or person.

If you have any interest in helping the effort, you can contact Coy Jenkins (918)798-7723 with the Rogers Co. Sheriff department for more information or check out that smiling face on the Facebook page.

Jack Doing The Two-Step

June 12, 2013


The two-step at the trail challenge consisted of two steps made from railroad crossties and landscaped into steps. One step was higher than the other. The ground became increasingly muddy as the horses went up and down. The top step came about to the cinch on Jack. He took it in stride!

Jack Backing Around The Fire Pit

June 9, 2013


Jack is shown here with Dustin at the AQHA Trail Challenge held in Hartman, Arkansas and hosted by the Horsemen of Arkansas. The event was also approved by the American Horsemen Challenge Association.

The obstacle in this photograph requires the rider to back a full 360 degrees around a fire pit. There are four stumps placed as corners that the horse cannot go past essentially making you back a circle inside a square.

Jack, just like our other quarter horses has been trained to respond appropriately to new and unexpected situations. He displayed genuine interest in the challenge without ever showing any poor behavior or acting up. Jack is great on the trail and pays attention to everything without forgetting the training he has been given.

Dustin had not ridden in nearly a month due to his job schedule when the challenge took place and had not ridden Jack for several months (bearing in mind Jack had been ridden by others). We felt Dustin and Jack did an exceptional job considering the lack of working together. The initial plan had been for Dustin to ride a different horse, but some confusion over getting the health papers to cross into Arkansas ended up with Jack as a last-minute substitute.


Jack The Plumber

May 25, 2013

If you read this blog very often, then you already know Jack, one of our AQHA registered quarter horses,  just graduated the training program at our ranch in Bixby, Oklahoma. If you have read the Meet Jack section, you also know Jack seems to have a special knack for being around when something unexpected happens. He enjoys helping and does exceptionally well in these bizarre situations. Like the day he found the little lost boy. [ May 22, 2012 post ]

Recently Jack had the opportunity to help another neighbor. Sure sorry there isn’t photos or video to show you this one! The neighbor draws water from a small lake near his house using a pump. The pump burned up unfortunately and had to be replaced. Not exactly the end of the world, but it took some work and effort that was rewarded with no water when the power was turned back on. A closer inspection revealed the pipe leading into the underwater pump had broken due to age and the new installation. It had to be repaired in the water or it meant pulling the entire unit back to shore.

The neighbor waded out to do the work, but was up to his chin in the water (still pretty chilly in May). In order to splice the joint, it had to be held out of the water for ten minutes in order for the glue to bond to the new pipe. The neighbor just wasn’t strong enough to stand there in the cold water up to his chest holding the pipe at head level to dry. Well, Jack, as he always seems to do, came to the rescue.

The rider (who will remain anonymous to keep the mental health people from finding him – LOL!) stripped the saddle and pad from Jack and donned a pair of shorts after taking off his own boots and jeans. He rode Jack into the lake up to his neck in the water and placed the pipe on Jack’s neck.  This remarkable AQHA quarter horse patiently stood there the full ten minutes with the pipe near the top of his head, neck-deep in the water while the glue dried. Jack then lowered his head so he could back up without breaking the pipe as he exited the pond. This is one truly amazing horse! Jack the rescue horse is now Jack the plumber.

Pete, Speck, Jack, and Doc Graduate The Two-Year Training

May 15, 2013

Four of the AQHA registered quarter horses successfully completed the  two-year training program this month. It’s a credit to them as others failed along the way or didn’t have the qualities and attributes necessary. Pete, Jack, Speck, and Doc all have fulfilled our requirements and met the expectations we set for those that finish the two-year trail horse program.

Does this mean their training ends? Nope! We believe horses like people should be life long learners. You never know it all and when you think you do it’s time to quit! Horses need to keep learning as well. If nothing else, the horse needs to better learn the rider’s needs, wants, and desires. Good communication with a horse and rider comes primarily from a good fit and practice. Even an experienced horse can suffer occasional miscues and an experienced rider can poorly signal what he or she wants to happen.

Does finishing the program mean these horses are absolutely bomb-proof [See 6/15/12 post for definition] and an accident can never happen? No, we don’t rule out rider inexperience as a catalyst for accidents. And anyone who guarantees what their horse will do tomorrow is lying to you. No one can honestly guarantee a horse will never spook depending on the circumstances. So what does completing the training really mean? First, the horse has seen “lots of wet blankets” meaning the horse has been ridden almost everyday by a trainer focused on developing calm, quiet, horses ready to work for two full years. They are taught to come quickly back to a relax state if excited. Second, the horse has been ridden by several different people with less experience to see how he reacts to different personalities and riders. Third, he has been exposed to livestock, semi-trucks along the highway, heavy equipment while it is operating, tarps, ropes, plastic bags, hikers, deer, coyotes, dogs, rolling balls, and all sorts of materials being dragged behind him to make loud noises.

He knows how to stand tied patiently, load and unload, lead, neck-rein, stop, lope, trot, side-pass, back, stand hobbled, cross water, go up and down hills at a walk, step over logs and obstacles, pony other horses, and do more ranch chores than we can list. The horse has been used extensively and knows what it means to work. He is sound in mind and body. His feet are good and have been tested by use on our hard, rocky ground.

What are these horses ready to do.  They are ready to immediately use for ranch work, trail riding, play days, search and rescue operations or move to focused training for rodeo, barrel racing, western dressage, and other events. With all the foundational work done, these horses can quickly be adapted to a number of specialized uses.

We are pleased with these geldings and proud to show them as graduates! They have all done really well and have the records to show their progress. If you have any questions or want to see what they can do, let us know. You don’t find this type of horse just anywhere.

Nice To Meet You, I’m Jack

November 12, 2012


It is my pleasure to meet you, my name is Jack. I am an AQHA registered quarter horse in the two-year trail riding program and plan to graduate in May, 2013. Trails are fun to me, I like to see new things and enjoy the opportunity to go places. In my training, I learned how to neck rein, load and unload from the trailer, how to ground tie, and to keep my feet under me on the trail. I have been ridden a lot and covered many, many miles in all sorts of situations from rescue operations to helping monitor wild fires. The training program has really expanded my natural abilities and a lot of hours were spent working livestock. I can pull tires, logs, fence posts, 55 gallon barrels, and have ponied a lot of other horses. I am not afraid of a hard day’s work and don’t mind getting a little dirty. My trainers say I’m an all around horse that can do anything I am asked.  The trainers seem really pleased with my calm attitude and willingness to do the job at hand. My grades have been good and I plan to graduate and move on to full-time work with a great owner. I am looking forward to lots of fun and good times when I start my next job! Come see me some time and scratch my ears – I really like that. Click here to check out what Jack has been up to!

See Jack’s Bloodlines

Concrete Sounds Funny To Horses

November 9, 2012


Concrete scares some horses because of the sound and the change in texture. We have seen trail riders who could not take their horse across this simple concrete bridge. Jack is shown in the photograph walking towards the bridge and crossed it without so much as a second thought. When we first started riding this trail years ago, there wasn’t a bridge. Instead there was a mud hole and when it rained,  the horses were knee-deep in mud. One of the trail riding groups managed to get a concrete bridge so you don’t have to ride into the mud anymore. But, we still see people over to the side of the bridge going through the mud because the horse they are riding refuses to cross. A good trail horse needs to cross concrete and pavement slowly and quietly. You never know when you may have to ride across a road or in some places a parking lot that joins the trail.

Time To Quit and Go Home

November 3, 2012


Jack loves to go and really enjoys a good trail ride. After a fun day on the trail, it was finally time to go home. This was Jack’s reaction when he heard we were about to head back home.  Look close and you can see the tears running down his face.



Surefooted Trail Horses Are Essential

October 26, 2012


Trail horses are required to be surefooted, no exceptions! Once you’ve  ridden a horse that is clumsy, you don’t forget the experience. A horse falling with you brings an adrenalin rush that we don’t especially enjoy. When you feel the horse start down, you have to decide whether to ride it all the way down or bail off. It’s no fun anywhere, but on a steep trail it can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. This photo makes it a little hard to see the grade and the rocks in the path on the way down. There were several rocks sticking out in the trail that could have easily caused a horse to stumble.  The grade was steep enough in places to allow a horse to tumble head first if the front feet tripped. The horse in picture is Jack. He really pays attention to his feet and where he puts them.

The horses in our training program are ridden into the rocks and rougher parts of the ranch in the first few weeks of riding.  The purpose is to teach the horse early to pay attention to his feet while simultaneously learning to balance the load he carries. If the horse can’t figure out how  to deal with the rider and the rocks, we don’t need to waste time with future training. As we said, a falling horse is unpleasant to say the least.  Not to mention we have too many athletic horses in our horse training program to continue working with one that doesn’t have what it takes to make a sound trail horse.

Water Doesn’t Bother Jack At All

October 24, 2012

JackJack is  working his way towards graduation from our two-year training program. He is doing excellent and shown here being ridden  in the middle of the lake. The horses that successfully complete the program demonstrate stamina, physical agility, strength, mental focus, calmness, and soundness in every way.  Riding into water is not a big deal  for Jack and this photo demonstrates his willingness to wade into a big body of water he had never seen before.  Jack went straight into the lake without hesitation and  up and down the shoreline through  some slippery, muddy places with ease.  He never showed the slightest anxiety and acted like he plays in the lake everyday.  He is a hard worker and ready to attempt whatever is asked of him.  Jack will graduate in May, 2013. Keep an eye on his him, he’s a nice horse.

Jack Ground Tied

October 22, 2012

JackA trail horse should know how to ground tie. Here is Jack shown on a trail ride left standing without being tied to anything. The left rein was  dropped to the ground and his rider walked away as a test. Failing the test meant his rider was going to walk back to the truck or be riding double behind someone else. When you ride a lot, there are constantly situations that come up where you need to get off for some reason and there aren’t always good places to tie your horse. You need to be able to drop the reins without concern about your horse running away. It takes practice and repetition, but it is well worth the effort, unless of course, you like hiking!