Friday I went to get him and he was minus a shoe. The other was missing a nail and loose so I pulled it the rest of the way off. It was the first time I've ever pulled a shoe off myself, and boy do I have more respect for my farrier! It took me about a half hour to work it off and I was pouring sweat by the end. Luckily Buddy was due to get redone this week anyways so he'll only have a few days barefoot.
I was a little worried how ouchy he'd be because Saturday we were scheduled to ride in a cutting clinic. I've been to the barn where it was held before and knew they had really nice cushy footing. It was the walking on the gravel/hard pasture that worried me. I gave him a little preventative bute Friday night and Saturday morning and he was fine.
It's been six months since Bud's been on cows, so I figured he'd be pretty excited. Wrong. He perked up a bit when he first saw the cows but then promptly lost interest. We started by practice moving the herd and then being "herd holders" for the person cutting. Basically the herd holders keep the group of cows back while the cutter cuts their cow out and works it. There are two herd holders, one in each corner of the short end of the arena. Buddy and I were actually pretty good at holding the herd, we got compliments and didn't get yelled at as much as some of the real cow horse people.
|At least he's cute, right?|
By this point I was trying my hardest to hold back the tears. My barn owner who had come to watch came out to talk to me and said the clinician was wrong, that Buddy was just being incredibly lazy and wasn't loosing confidence. He just couldn't be bothered to care. She also offered me her spurs that she had in the truck if I wanted to get back on him. I thought about it as I untacked and groomed him and she was right. Buddy normally locks on to his cow and is pretty enthusiastic about moving them. He just didn't care and wasn't paying attention.
One of the clinic organizers came out and talked to me saying they were sorry I had a bad go and offered to have me work one on one with a cow. She said she'd been in my place and she knows how hard it is to be called out in a group setting. I stared getting teary eyed again and that set her off and the two of hugged and cried it out. I got Bud tacked up again, put on the spurs, and headed back to the arena.
There were only two cows in the arena this time and we worked on just following one and moving with it. Buddy woke up after a couple jabs with the spurs and was his normal cowy self. He was locking onto the cow and moving with it. The clinician was having me go slow and emphasize moving Buddy's shoulders when the cow moved. At one point he told me to move Bud's shoulders away from the cow, and thanks to the spurs, Buddy did almost a 180 spin. That got everyone laughing and saying that when he wakes up he could move. It ended on a good note, I felt that I had redeemed us, and that Buddy at least remembered how to work cow.