Friday, June 17, 2011

Got guns?

I rode Gabe last night and he was his wonderful self: No soreness and wonderfully forward, obedient and eager to please. What a pleasant, pleasant ride. We worked on spiraling in and spiraling out on a circle and he finally GETS IT! YAY! Of course, he goes stiffer tracking to the right than the left, but I expected that and worked him on it.

The people who own the land next door to mine were out doing some target shooting and making all kinds of noise walking through the woods, talking and shooting.

And it didn't phase him one bit. He was unusually focused on me for this ride which was a good thing.

The shooting doesn't phase any of the horses a bit. The shotgun or rifle can be fired near their pastures and none of them flinch. They just don't care.

Some of you may remember back in early spring when I was hem-hawing about whether to sell Calypso and my daughter said she wanted to ride her so I decided to keep the mare and give the kid the chance to ride her.

Well, she hasn't been riding much at all. The weather hasn't exactly been fabulous and I haven't been riding a whole lot either for the same reason. However, the times I have had the chance to ride and asked her to come along, she's declined about half the time.

So, Calypso needs a new job. She's young, she's dead quiet, she's level-headed, willing, obedient, brave and easily trainable. I've determined she'll just never make a very good English horse. She can jump, but not well, her gaits aren't the prettiest to watch, but she gets the job done. She has cutting QH breeding and you can really see that aspect of her athleticism come out when she's out in the pasture just playing around. That little mare can MOVE and when she's moves, she moves fast, low and powerfully with everything she has loaded into that back end and that front end free to do some serious maneuvering.

I really don't want to sell her. She's a nice, nice mare. No, not show quality, but a really level-headed horse that I can put anyone on and trust her.

When I started riding as a young'un I rode my pony Western. Well, I started riding her bareback because we didn't have a saddle right away. Then my first saddle was a western one and we did speed events, trail classes, pleasure classes and some showmanship. The speed events were a BLAST!

I've been tossing around in my head what I could do with this mare that would be fun, maybe a little different from what I usually do and right up her alley. I've been to a couple of Cowboy Mounted Shooting events in St. Louis and every time I've gone I've thought "WOW! That would be an absolute BLAST! Too bad I don't have a horse quiet and sane enough to do it." One of the bailiffs I used to work with at the courthouse did the competitions and he absolutely loved it, we talked about mounted shooting and horses and training them for mounted shooting every time we got the chance.

Okay, so maybe that's a lot more than a "little different" from what I usually do, but dangit, I want to try it and I will. If I hate it, I hate it, but at least I can say I tried.

I think Calypso would be a darn fine mounted shooting horse. Don't worry, I'm not going to run out and start shooting off her tomorrow or next week...I'm going to step back her training and take all the English aspects out of what I do with her. Tune up and fine tune her neck reining, work on that too fast trot and start some slow speed work around poles and barrels with her (slow speed work...that's an oxymoron!) to work on her handiness and responsiveness and build the necessary muscles. I guess I need to start visiting some tack auctions and find a decent western saddle. I'm going to take the bit out of her face and try her in a hackamore...she has always seemed happiest when I just ride her with a halter and rope anyway, she might do fabulous in a hackamore...we'll see. At this point, I'm game for just about anything with her, and as long as she's having fun, that's all that matters.

When I'm ready to start the mounted shooting part I'll find someone locally who does it (or tap the knowledge of my bailiff friend) to glean some advice/tips and help.

A little more about Cowboy Mounted Shooting. How fun does that look/sound? Tell me you're not intrigued!


  1. Go for it - sounds like a blast!!

  2. If you google Stacey Westfall mounted shooting, you should be able to get a lot of training info. She did a series an the AQHA magazine on training your horse for this event. It sounds like fun!

  3. Oh that sounds like such fun! Always wanted to try it, but Dixie's really not the right horse for CMS. She's ok with guns, but her fundamental temperament isn't suited to speed events. Totally jealous of you and Calypso!

  4. That's a great idea! I love new projects and new training opportunities. Keep us updated!

  5. Awesome direction, for big changes!
    Not everyone can try that, sounds like she's a natural!