This month we’re going to talk about hauling green horses and some things that can give you a better chance at winning on them. This subject is dear to me this month because this is exactly what I’ve had to do lately, since my three first-string horses are all on the injured reserve list. I rode Sheriff at the Odessa rodeo, his second rodeo ever. I rode a seventeen-year-old green horse, Doc, at the Ft. Worth rodeo.
When riding and hauling a green horse, I can’t stress the importance of preparation. Now days with all the barriers with electric eyes, keep in mind that rodeos use a barrier rope with a flag. This is one of the most important things I practice at home with my green horses. There’s no worse feeling than leaving the box at a rodeo when suddenly you feel the saddle horn hit you in the chest because your head horse is making a Lipizzan leap over the rope barrier. At some point this happens to almost everyone who rodeos.
I also set up my arena to simulate rodeo arenas with banners along the left wall. One mistake commonly made is expecting your horse to work as well away from home as they do at home where they are relaxed.
At both rodeos I had my horse there ahead of time. At Ft. Worth, Jennifer and I each rode a horse in the grand entry. In between performances I got to ride them in the box and lead them around and expose them to the sights.
You need to give your horse an opportunity to succeed and that takes preparation. If you haul your horse for the first time and he doesn’t perform well, you need to ask yourself what you could have done to help him. Did you get there early so you could expose him to the sights? Did you warm him up well? Did you ride him in the arena and box to let him get comfortable with his surroundings? You have to give him a chance to relax so he can do his job when the gates bang.
The first five times you haul a horse away from home will teach you a lot about your horse and show you what you need to work on. Horses are like people, they’re all different. I’ve had horses that were scared of the chuck wagon, and one that was scared of airplanes. Some horses don’t like music or carnivals. It takes time, patience, and effort for them to realize these things won’t hurt them and for them to relax. I’ve installed sound systems in my barn so my horses could get acclimated to the loud music they play at rodeos and ropings.
One of the best horses I’ve ever owned, Viper, was one of the worst at jumping the barrier rope. He probably did that for a couple of months. At the Houston rodeo he would jump the chalk line every year. You could walk him over it in a figure eight and he would never step on the white line. I always had to throw before or after the chalk line at Houston.
All the preparation in the world won’t make your horses’ first trips away from home perfect. But it will speed up the training process. You have to recognize all the obstacles that can prevent you from winning. If you can simulate them at home and get your horse used to them, it will give you a better chance of winning.
What’s new with me: We went to Ft. Worth, San Angelo, the Open at San Angelo, and the Wildfire roping. All my runs are on speedroping.com and are free to watch. I voice over each run and break down what happened, and what I’m working on to overcome the obstacles I’m currently faced with. I also talk about some things I’ve learned riding green horses at the rodeos while I’m waiting for my first string to get healthy. I’d like to thank everyone who participates at speedroping.com. I’m proud to say we will soon have over 2,000,000 videos watched.