My favorite season is soon upon us, branding. But there is little room for green cowboys or green horses in the pen. A man and his horse need to be conditioned and ready to go when they cross that gate into the calves with lariat in hand. Chief is old hat. Mollie has yet to have a rope swung off of her. So it was time the two met.
Mollie wintered well. Probably gaining a good 300lbs over the last year. She has brawn. To add to the cool factor as well as keep my saddle in the middle, we added a pulling collar to her riggin. Thanks Paul.
She had seen a rope in front of her during our ground work lessons. But I want her to have as much exposure to rope entanglement now in a safe space, so that in the branding pen when the rope runs up under her tail with a calf on the end of it, Fr. Bryce doesn't bite the dust.
Once she was good with that, I started to swing the rope from the saddle. The next step is dragging something. I like to start pulling from the front and backing up so the horse can see from what comes the resistance and noise. Makes it all less scary for them.
This makes the transitions to pulling from the rear a breeze. I think first impressions make a lasting mark in a horse's mind. Doing all of this in the practice pen of the round corral makes for a good experience now. Then when you add the craziness of the branding pen, it won't be as dramatic.
Mollie is now ready, but we'll see about me. I rope like I bowl, the first one is always a strike. After that is usually down hill.
I live for May. Branding is my favorite sport. We have our first gig this weekend in Aladdin. This'll be new territory for us. Whether we rope or not, I guarantee we'll have fun. On to the next one..
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