My daughter has decided she wants to be a cowgirl, so when my friend asked if we wanted to go with them to the junior rodeo at our county fair I said yes. We haven’t hauled Princess Onna since we got her, my daughter has only been riding off a lead line for a month or so, and neither of us have any experience with poles barrels or any rodeo type stuff. Oh well, it was a play day more than rodeo and little kids could be lead or ponied, the rest of it we figured would work its self out.
With only a few days to prepare we sat some empty lick tubs out in our “arena” and started practicing. Onna has had some halfhearted clicker training, I’ve been using it to teach her to understand a small child’s confusing cues. Now I applied it, a little, to going around barrels and poles but mostly to stopping. My little girl rode her around the barrels, I clicked as she went around and rewarded when she got back to me in the middle of the pattern, then ran alongside as they gaited to our designated finish line clicking when she stopped. The patterning was iffy but the whoa at the end was solidly trained.
I admit I’m not a barrel racer, I’ve never had any interest and still don’t but having the barrels out there and a goal to our riding helped both little girl and Rusty work on steering. We will have to keep them out and continue working with them.
The work we did was successful. When we got there I rode Onna around then put my little girl up and lead them around. Onna settled down quickly. I led her through the barrels, the first event of the day. Onna was fine and running to the finish line nearly killed me. After that I put my faith in her training and let got of the lead rope. They sat outside the arena waiting without being held. Children climbed on and off of her while she stood, leg cocked, resting. Onna followed both me and her riders cues as we went in for the poles. When we rounded the last pole we ran to the end together and they beat me then stopped and waited. By the goat thing, what ever that was, I sent them off alone to finish. There was no fighting the stop or running off. They calmly stopped together our training paid off.
I must admit it was hard taking our Morgan into the sea of quarter horses, my helmet wearing child into the midst of cowboy hats and, mostly, my treat bag and cookies into the arena. It’s hard to be different and even my good friend that we went with laughed at me a little. There were some comments made to my husband, waiting, holding the other child, about how that horse was sure trained to eat treats good. Lots of comments were also made about how good Princess Onna was, how beautiful she is and how well behaved she was for her little rider and my good friends son asked if he could wear our sons helmet. Being different is good, I’ve always said if you’re going to be weird you better be good and I’ve always been weird. If my daughter decides that this is what she wants to do I guess we will see about clicker training a rodeo horse.
- Begging To Work
- Good Ponies