Day 1: Check-in and Introduction to the Cowhorse Experience
7:30-9:30AM- Check-in will be anytime from 7AM-9:30AM. You may also decide to check in the day before, stay the night in the tent, and simply wake up already at the ranch.
10AM- We will begin the Introduction at 10 AM in the HQ Building, where you will have coffee & donuts as you are handed your books and other materials, and are given an overview of what we will be doing, as well as a brief history of the cowhorse and an introductory lesson on how cowhorses are trained and how they are to be ridden.
12PM- Lunch will be catered to the HQ Building.
2PM- 5PM- Introduction to your primary horse. This is where you will be given the horse you will ride for the majority of your stay and we will make sure you know which saddle and pad is yours and will teach you how to saddle him. We will then head to the round pen or arena and our goals will be to teach you the following things:
1. To be comfortable at a trot. Nearly all boxing and herd work (cutting) is done at a trot, and we will be trotting a long ways the next day to gather cattle so we will make sure you can both post (rising trot) for the gather as well as ride a seated trot for the arena work.
2. Understand your leg, seat, voice, and reins. These are the four means you have for communicating with your horse. We want you to understand how to ask the horse to move any part of his body individually. These individual body parts are the horse's head, neck,shoulders, rib-cage, and hips. If you are ready, this is where we will show you how to do things like collect your horse, open and close gates from horseback, perform a sliding stop, and spin. If you are not quite ready for these more advanced maneuvers, no problem at all! We will simply build up your foundations and teach you how to have balance, feel, and timing while focusing on any one part of the horse.
3. Flag Work. The "Cow Flag" is simply a flag (or feed bag) placed on a long line with a remote controlled pulley system. We use the flag to simulate the movements of a cow. The remote controlled flag allows us to easily teach you how to position your horse on a cow and allows us to teach you to prepare for a horse to move with a cow on his own.
3. To track cattle. This is where we will have you cut one steer out of the herd and drive him into the arena. We simply want you to put your attention as well as your horse's attention on the backside of an individual steer and make sure you can drive him all around the arena.
4. To Understand Boxing. After you have tracked a steer for a while, it is time to box him. "Boxing" is simply driving the cow forward, stopping him, turning him, and driving him the other direction while keeping him against one side of the arena. Boxing a cow is simply a way of proving that your horse has complete dominance over the cow.
All these things are done at your own pace and there is no requirement or rush placed on you. There are also enough instructors in the arena that one group of people may work on a more basic level while another works on more advanced exercises. The entire time you are here we want you to remember that this experience is all about you and your horsemanship needs. While we will be able to teach you a lot over these few days, and you will grow exponentially due to riding good horses with access to good instructors and cattle, you must also keep in mind that neither the cowhorse nor the horseman is made overnight. We don't rush our horses when we are training them, and there is no need for us (or yourself) to rush you.
6PM. Dinner, like all our meals, will be catered to the HQ building.
For the rest of the evening, do what you like. Your instructors may very well still be training horses in the round pen and arena, so feel free to watch them if you like, or relax in your tent or take a walk or a drive to nearby Kolob Canyon or Cedar Breaks National Monument- It's up to you!