Colt Starting/Problem Solving
This class is for horses that have not been started under saddle, or for older horses that are having trouble understanding what is being asked of them, thus causing "trouble" for the human. This class lays the foundation for whatever is coming in the future. Lots of time will be spent preparing the horse for what's coming next - the next moment, the next day, the next year — encouraging the horse to learn to try for the human and in building the horse's confidence in the human and in himself. Buster and Sheryl will do their best to do whatever is right for each particular horse to get him off to the best start possible, considering available time and resources. They will also do their best to help the human understand what is needed by the horse, so the human can do a better job of understanding, supporting and helping the horse get a better deal.
Buster and Sheryl believe that good horsemanship begins on the ground. They believe that the understanding, confidence, softness, attitude, etc. that you have on the ground with your horse will carry right over into the saddle. This class is designed to help the horse and human develop their relationship on the ground so that they can improve their relationship in the saddle. Most of the time will be spent on proper and safe leading, lunging, backing, ground manners, etc. Some time will be spent riding after the groundwork is satisfactory.
This class is designed to help achieve a higher level of communication between horse and rider. It emphasizes the rider's awareness of what the horse needs to do with his feet and balance in order to do certain jobs (turn on the hindquarters, forehand, backing, transitions, etc,) We will work on the rider's balance, cues, seat position, etc. so that he can be more clear with his instructions to the horse and make it easier for the horse to understand and do what the rider is asking. It should also make the rider more aware of where the horse is in his understanding of what the rider is asking, and help the rider learn to work with the horse right where he his, so that the rider can better prepare his horse for what he needs to do in the future. Basically, this class should help you work towards increased harmony with your horse through better understanding and through simple, yet precise exercises. We will not do anything fancy in this class, but we start laying the foundation for some really fancy things.
This class is for riders who want to hone their horsemanship skills and refine their relationship with their horses through working cattle. It is a real job for the horse to do, and Buster and Sheryl believe that a horse knows the difference between a real job and simply making up things to do in an arena. The rider will start to learn how to "read" cattle and how and where to position himself in order to influence the cow to do whatever the rider wants it to do. There is quite a challenge in this class to develop harmony between the horse and rider in order to get a job done. A priority in the class is to get the job done with as little stress as possible to the horses, cattle, and riders. You do not have to be able to go very fast to enjoy this class!
Ranch Roping 1
This class will introduce the basics of ranch roping, including handling a rope in a safe and efficient manner both on the ground and horseback. We will check your horse out with the rope to see if he is prepared to be roped on. If not, this will become a priority. There will be discussion and practice of different loops and their use and effectiveness in different situations, riding your horse with one hand while holding and swinging a rope, positioning your horse for different loops, dallying and starting to learn to read cattle so as to be a more effective roper. Lots of time will be spent roping a dummy and practicing different loops both on the ground and horseback. Most, if not all, roping of live cattle in this class will be done with a breakaway. There will be a strong emphasis on safety in this class.
Ranch Roping 2
This class is for folks who have already learned the basics introduced in RR1 and are ready to do more practicing on live cattle. Taking your dallies with a live cow on the end of your tiger line is quite a bit more challenging and exciting than pitching it under a dummy. We'll discuss and practice handling cattle safely and effectively after they're roped with as little stress as possible on both the cow and the horse, working together with other ropers to handle the holdup and set up in different shots, how to help someone who is riding a less experienced horse, etc. There are a million situations that can come up while roping. We'll try to prepare the roper to think ahead of what's going on at the moment and anticipate what might happen next, so as to make things more efficient or head off trouble.
This class, like cow working, requires even more communication and harmony between horse and rider. It requires the rider to be able to read cattle, position his horse so that he can get a good throw at the cow, ride with the reins in one hand, and handle his rope at the same time. Again, safety of the ropers, horses, and cattle is of the utmost importance.
We offer two clinics each year at our home, one in the Spring and one in the Fall. We keep the class sizes small so each participant receives plenty of individual attention and help with his/her horse.
We encourage each participant to bring two horses: a colt/young horse for the colt-starting/problem solving class, and a more experienced horse for the horsemanship class. The colts will receive a foundation from which they can develop into their respective careers. Each young horse will be given the time and attention needed to help them progress.
Most riding in the horsemanship portion will be done outside, in varied terrain. We will concentrate on the fundamental aspects of good horsemanship, such as straightness, smooth transitions, stops, turns on hindquarters and forehand, backing up, and lead departures. It is an excellent opportunity for both horse and rider to gain confidence in themselves and one another in new and strange situations.
Lodging is provided in our home and bunkhouse. Three meals a day are provided, and if you leave hungry, it’s your own fault!
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Ranch Horse Versatility
Buster and Sheryl want their horses ready to help in any job that needs to be done-whether it’s branding calves, starting a colt, conducting a clinic, going to the show pen, or just a leisurely ride.
Having a horse conﬁdent in any number of aspects, helps build trust and respect, in both the horse and rider. This element is imperative to the foundation of all interactions with a horse.
Our Ranch Horse Versatility class will provide insight and instruction on how to prepare and improve upon the diﬀerent aspects of versatility classes. We will work on the skills necessary for completing riding patterns, trail courses, and cow work, all while improving our horsemanship.
Fundamentals of Cowboy Dressage
Dressage- “the art of riding and training a horse in a manner that develops obedience, ﬂexibility, and balance.”
Add “Cowboy” to that deﬁnition and you have a horse who is obedient, ﬂexible, balanced, with the ability to get a real job done outside of the show pen.
Having worked for and managed some of the biggest cow ranches in Texas, Buster and Sheryl know and understand what is necessary to prepare a horse to do a job quietly and precisely.
On a ranch, there are times when it is necessary to be able to take only one step forward to point a cow into the pen, shift your horse’s weight without him moving a foot to stop calves from leaking out of the herd, move the hindquarters to open a gate, a or a leg yield to sidestep a cactus growing in the trail on the side of a canyon wall.
In this class we will focus on the fundamentals of the maneuvers necessary-softness, straightness, transitions, balance-to not only prepare your horse for completing a Cowboy Dressage test, but also become a more willing partner in all riding aspects.