Horse And Cattle Events - Sports - Equestrian


Horse And Cattle Events    by Annabelle Cabella

in Sports / Equestrian    (submitted 2011-12-15)

Are you looking to win at horse and cattle events?

There are essentially three things to consider to succeed in cattle events and those are:

- the physical and mental condition of the horse - the human's understanding of the stock - the synergy of the rider and the equine

Horse and Cattle events include cutting, team penning, and working cow horse. These are enjoyable tournaments , and they enable you to see how functional and awe-inspiring horses really are. These events are considered to be advanced horsemanship. The horsemen that compete in these events are experienced and many of them are experts in their field.

Horses used in these types of events are extremely athletic and very willing to work with cattle. This type of horse can be referred to as "cowey". Some people would only choose horses with the lineage and aptitude to these kinds of events. Horses in these cattle events are considered athletes. They must possess power and agility in order to work cattle efficiently. this connection takes time to develop . Horse and cattle both learn the rules of the game quickly.

The horses are expected to make explosive movements, such as quick turns. They also need to have that so-called "cow sense" which is what people in the industry call the main instinct needed by the horse to work cattle. hence, training does not only involve the physical conditioning but the mental development of the horse to further develop its "cow sense". The events are interplay of physical prowess, instinct, and control.

Horse suppleness and flexibility are very important in these events. The owner/rider should work on it relentlessly to insure the success of both rider and animal. The knowledge base of the rider must be topnotch as the horses are required to follow cues that are not perceivable by the untrained eye. Basically, riders shoot to make their horses move easily with light aids. Some of the aids are actually involved are shifting of weight, hand aids, verbal and of course, leg cues. Horses are also trained to have tremendous focus on the task. it is essential that they can read and control cattle. You'll notice in an experienced team, that the horse enjoys the task as much as the rider, if not more.

A thorough understanding of cattle should be possessed in order to be successful at any event involving the animal. The natural behavior of cattle should be studied for full effectiveness.

These are some bits of information about cattle:

Both horses and cattle cannot see behind their bodies because of the way their eyes are positioned as prey animals. They also cannot see directly in front of them. This is called their "blind zone". They often rely on their peripheral vision and other ways of communication, such as ground vibration, sound and the energy of the animals around them. These are very important bits of information to consider because you can effectively gauge their reactions based on this understanding.

As a rider, you must also be aware of "fight or flight". This the animal's personal space and reaction to serious stimuli. It will vary based on the horse and cattle's level of experience and tameness. Animals on the wilder side have larger flight zones. They can go as much as fifty meters while tamer cattle are about two to eight meters. It is possible to have a livestock with no response to stimuli. This is called desensitizing.

With this knowledge, you, as the rider, must be able to train your horse properly. Your horse's "cow sense" is intertwined with your knowledge (and instinct as well). However, you can train your horse and cattle to change to all types of experience and stimulus. This is why cattle events can be so enjoyable , because you get to see the complex and extensive use of horses as working animals.

You also get to see the importance of rider-to-horse communication, athleticism, instinct, intelligence etc.