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It’s The Little Things That Matter…


Yesterday we had a tremendous electrical storm and about a dozen drops of rain—just enough to make the dust stick to your car. It’s getting a little scary here because it is bone dry but the lightening appears every afternoon (dry storms, they call them) making the threat of wild fire greater every day.

My son, Hunter, is a wild land fire fighter so he is ready and willing to jump to the cause when needed. It’s a tough and dirty job, not to mention dangerous, but he loves the adventure and the excuse to be outdoors and get paid (well) for it.

I’ve been riding  a lot this week, in preparation for the reined cowhorse competition this weekend. I am determined to fix the little flaws that Dually and I have—to improve our spins, get a more consistent big stop and to keep him emotionally stable. The first two things are easy because he is a talented horse. But the emotionality is a tough one.

Lately I’ve been paying attention to tiny little infractions he makes, like bowing his ribcage out in a turn or moving a few inches off the center of his spin toward the gate. When I feel his emotions well up, I’ve been stopping, flexing him laterally then circling him to break him at the poll, lift the shoulder then disengage the hips. By then he is usually back in focus. Pretty soon, this becomes a pattern that leads to focus. We’ll see how well it works at the show.

Dually is a horse that responds well to correction. For the most part, he tries really hard to be a good horse but he occasionally has lapses of judgment, like inching toward the gate in his spins. It would be really easy to ignore the little things, but then it continues and gets worse. By correcting the smallest infractions, he straightens up and flies right. If I let the little things slide, which is easy to do, later it blows up in my face at a competition.

No matter how hard we work and how good it gets, it can always be better. It’s mostly the pursuit of perfection that I love—I’m not really all that keen on showing. But it’s only at the shows and clinics that I can really judge my progress and find our holes. I am excited about this weekend’s show and I think we’ll do okay. But with cow work, you never know. The luck of the draw has a lot to do with it. I’m working extra hard on my good karma this week, so maybe I’ll draw a good cow.


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