Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Horse Training: You Can Do a Lot with a Pistol and a Lariat

So the horse market is so soft that it makes a marshmallow look stiff, and most horse addicts are tightening their belts. That means young colts in training don't get hauled to shows "just for the experience" because we're cutting back on gas expenses. Trained horses are also going to fewer shows.

Horses are getting dumped at sale yards or sold for pennies on the dollar. One guy came back from a horses, having sent his horses through the sale, only to discover that someone (who didn't want to pay the sale barn) had dumped 2 unwanted horses in his trailer while he wasn't looking. Yikes!

So where does this leave you if you still have horses, still want to have fun, and still want to do some serious horse training? Well, it leaves you with the art of improvisation.

Improvisation in Horse Training
I've got plenty of hay stored up for the winter, but that doesn't mean I'm not looking at ways to save money while still training my horses. So I'm improvising ... I'm doing the most I can with what I have. Aside from jumping the same jump over and over in hopes of becoming Colorado's first one-jump wonder, I'm reviewing what other assets I might have at my disposal for horse training. So what do I have?

A pistol and a lariat.

Well, actually, it's my hubby's pistol, but what's mine is his and what's his is mine.

You Can Do a Lot of Horse Training with a Pistol and a Lariat

It's true. When it comes to horses you can do a lot with a pistol and a lariat. Am I going to rope my horse and then shoot him? Nope. But I am going to increase his value by using these tools as part of my regular horse training routine. Specifically, I am going to use the pistol and lariat to teach my horses to be safe mounts for shooting and roping. The roping part is obvious: any horse you can rope off of is worth more and is more broke.

The shooting part makes sense if you live in my neck of the woods. In Western Colorado, hunters tend to hunt off their horses, so a horse you can shoot off of immediately is worth its weight in gold, not to mention sound proof, which often equals bomb proof. Also, around here we have a lot of cowboy mounted shooting events, so if I later want to either participate in this event or sell my colts to a cowboy mounted shooter, having a bomb proof horse is going to help.

Horse Training with Pistols and Lariats is Not for Beginners

Don't get the wrong idea here. I'm a good hand with horses, and I can manage to throw a lariat without hitting myself in the head, but that's about all. I know that safely handling pistols (even pistols shooting blanks) and lariats around horses is a whole new ball of wax.

So I'm getting professional help with these two activities. Am I going to pay a lot of money for these activities? Nope. I'm going to, as usual, barter for these services with professionals who rope and do cowboy mounted shooting. And I'm going to have a hell of a lot of fun!

What do you like to do with a horse, a pistol, and a lariat (or do I really want to know)? Or, barring that, what ideas have you got for cheap and fun horse training? Please share!

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