On Sunday, we took DN3 to the Tacoma Unit for cow sorting. She joined the High School Equestrian Team this year, and sorting is one of the team events, so practice is needed. For this event, she is riding our mare Bailey, who, with Poco Bueno on her papers, is cow horse through and through. The horse enjoys it, and knows her business.
Cow sorting is an event which consists of two round pens connected together, ten numbered cows, two horses, and two riders. The object is to move the cows in numerical order from one pen to the other within a specified time period (usually 60 or 90 seconds). If a cow should slip through out of order, it is considered a "dirty cow" and ends the run. Moving all ten in order before time is up is the ultimate goal, but getting five clean cows beats having a dirty one slip through.
The riders take turns cutting the next cow out of the herd. When not cutting a cow out, the other rider acts as "turnback", preventing dirty cows from slipping through. On one of her runs, DN3 and the guy she was riding with moved all ten cows before the clock run out, with all cows being clean. There time earned them second place in the novice division.
I took Smokey along, just to get him out, and had no intention of working the cows. The last time I tried it was about four years ago, and frankly, I wasn't worth a darn. The fact that I barely knew how to ride at the time may have been a factor. Regardless, it didn't pique my interest, so I never gave it a second thought.
Through a certain chain of events, I was talked into signing up for a few "goes" in the green novice division. While Smokey isn't a cow horse, he is willing to try. Mrs. BR has had some success on him in the past.
My first two runs ended rather quickly, with one of those darn dirty cows sneaking past either me or my partner.
My third, and final run was with DN3.
That's 9, count 'em, nine clean cows. We timed out before the tenth cow, but I'm not complaining. We were both pretty stoked. Oh, and we earned second place in the green novice division. Not bad for a half Thoroughbred Quarter Horse with a hack rider, if I do say so myself.
I might have to try this again.