Montana’s first filly arrived. She’s a cutie! We still remember when Montana was a baby and we practiced “rock training”. We used to put flat rocks on her back to see how long she would leave them. It was a way to pester her and get her used to new concepts.
The filly has the kind of mother we like. She is protective and watchful of her offspring in a paddock with five other horses, but friendly enough for us to walk up to her to check on the little one.
The filly is out of our stallion, Colonel.
The photo shows Montana at the City Slickers Trail Ride sponsored by the Bad Girls Trail Riding Club. Shawn rode Montana at the annual ride to see how she would do and give her some additional training. Although this young filly is coming along really well, she still has her moments. This trail ride in a new environment was good for her and allowed us to see a few areas that still need some work.
We put our horses through two years of training to develop them into the quiet, calm horses that can be loaded in the trailer and taken almost anywhere for an enjoyable time. The great thing about being able to take her on a ride with a lot of other horses is that it let us test the training. We found one deficiency as we got ready to leave, Montana just said no, she wasn’t going to load back in the trailer. Just like a kid in a restaurant, she forgot her manners and stood at the back of the trailer pouting and refusing to load.
When we got back to the ranch, we took some additional time and practiced loading and unloading for about 30 minutes. Once she finally decided there wasn’t any choice in the matter, she loaded and unloaded without a problem.We will conduct some more practice sessions and tests over the next two weeks to reinforce the lessons.
Training horses the right way takes a lot of time, patience, and work. During the schooling, you have to anticipate the horse will try you from time to time, just like a child will check to see if the parent will really make them brush their teeth and do their homework. The City Slickers ride provided the perfect occasion to quiz Montana and convince her it is better to cooperate than argue.
If you haven’t tried this ride, keep it in mind for next year. It was fun!
Why rope your horses feet? Well, it’s not how we catch them. This video shows one of our training methods. Using a rope around the feet teaches the horse to let you handle their feet safely. It also prepares your horse for those unexpected situation where a leg gets caught in briars or a fence. We usually start with a soft rope that can be loosed quickly and easily. Once the horse accepts the process, we use a lariat or whatever is handy. The horse in the video is one we have mentioned before. Although Montana is an excellent little mare, every horse on the ranch is handled the same way. We want our horses to know how to react if they suddenly find a foot caught or tangled in something we didn’t see.
Montana is shown in this video dragging an empty 55 gallon barrel over the gravel and rocks. She accepts the job without fuss. A lot of horses would panic with a loud, clanging object following them. Montana, like the rest of the horses that graduate from our two-year training program are exposed to all sorts of fun chores. We like to have young horses drag the barrel for several reasons. It is fairly light, but just heavy enough to pull on the saddle horn especially when it hits stumps and rocks. It makes a lot of noise so the horse learns not to become excited just because a noisy monster is chasing them. Young horses like Montana don’t need to pull a lot of weight in early training, but do need to learn pulling is part of the job.
Montana is an AQHA registered quarter horse mare. She has been handled by us since a baby. We started leading her around and playing games real early in her life. We used to cover her in feed sacks while she was eating and then put flat rocks all over her back. She got used to a lot of aggravations at a young age and learned to patiently accept almost anything. Montana is about as calm as they come. She hasn’t been under saddle all that long, but has done exceptional. Although she is not scheduled to graduate until May, 2014, she stands when mounting, loads and unloads from the trailer, and handles livestock. She has successfully completed tarp training, crosses bridges, water, and been ridden along the highway. We think Montana is truly remarkable. So special that we decided to breed her and raise a colt while she completes her trial riding education. She just has those working cow horse genetics nothing can beat. Click here to check out what Montana has been up to!
Here is a video of Montana taking a tarp training test. She passed with flying colors (okay only one flying color as the tarp is blue ). As the video shows, the tarp is thrown in every direction while with a rider. The purpose is to simulate any number of situations that might happen on the trail including the guy next to you putting on a slicker and the wind blowing it over the head of your horse. Montana is a great little filly that has come along way in a short amount of time. We will be showing you more of her as time permits. She is steady, calm, and dependable.
All of the horses in our two-year training program undergo tarp training and get tested. We were especially pleased with this young mare because she hasn’t been in the actual training program all that long. In fairness, we have worked with her from the ground since she was a baby. Keep your eye on this one, she is going to make a spectacular trail horse.
This is Montana learning to neck rein. She is a young filly we started a few months back. Notice the headstall is a halter, not a bridle. Montana has those natural genetics of a good quarter horse. She is sound and generally doesn’t get excited. There isn’t any concern she is going to take off or act silly. Her mother, Suzie, is another one of those quiet, easy-going trail horses.
Using the halter instead of a snaffle saves her mouth while she learns to neck rein. Here the rein on the right side is lightly touching her neck while the left rein is being used to gently pull her nose around. Put in a little forward motion and you have a turn.
Riding in halter during training means when she finishes the program and is finally one of our horses for sale that we can offer her to people with the expectation that she will respond well for customers using a simple bridle.
Montana has been in a slow training program all her life. She was started with a halter and learned to lead about two months old. By 3 months she was wearing blankets and occasionally a kid saddle. We used to put flat rocks all over her back while she was eating and threw empty feed sacks under her feet. We wanted calm and were determined to get there. At a little over two years old now, Montana was started under saddle for real. She has never bucked or reared and always at ease during training. The rides are kept fairly slow and short. Usually only a few miles at a walk while she continues to grow. Montana’s blood lines are cowhorse and she will not be real large, probably 14 or 14.1 hands when she stops growing.She is very smart and learns quickly. Most important to our program is her good nature and willingness to readily accept new things without fear or becoming overly excited. We have high hopes for Montana and look forward to seeing her at the end of graduation in two more years. More about her progress as time passes.