For the type of horses we show, there is a way to practice without live cattle or buffalo, it’s called a flag or a mechanical cow.
Now we’ve really stepped up our game b/c when I say flag, our old flag was an old wheel of a bicycle on one side of the arena and the other part with the pedals on the other. There was a rope between the tires and you had a person who sat there and hand cranked the bicycle. The “cow” was an old towel, feedsack, shirt, etc that was tied in the middle and it moved back and forth as the “cow operator” moved the pedals of the bike. Let me clarify a bit, you were actually standing on the ground, your hands were operating the pedals… just so we’re all clear. I tried googling a picture, but couldn’t find one… so hopefully my description did it a little justice 🙂
We now have a mechanical cow. It runs off a motor & electricity. In fact the person on the horse runs the controller so you don’t have to have 2 people to practice… just one and a horse :)… oh and electricity ;).
Here dad is strapping the remote on to his wrist.
And their off.
Muddy bites at the real cows, I guess he thinks he should bite at this one too?
It’s also a great learning tool in a controlled environment to teach Tbug how to show cutting horses.
And of course the “babysitter” Aloha takes real good care of Tbug.
I was actually sitting on the ground, in the sand, on the other side of the cow.
KG is scared to death of the cow. No this isn’t a picture of him scared, he’s actually working, but he works further back than any of the other horses. See where hubs and Tbug are sitting… they actually had to move back, this is how far away from the cow KG works. Now real cows you don’t have that problem but he hates this fake cow.
Then hubs jumped on Aloha. He’s actually working without stirrups b/c he’s on Tbug’s saddle. He was “correcting” Aloha after Tbug was done.
I almost didn’t get to go home in the front of the truck b/c I was sitting in the sand.
Working on the flag isn’t always the best method because the horses tend to learn to “cheat” but at the same time, it’s great practice if you don’t wanna bring the cattle up or if you’re trying to teach the youngun how it all works. It keeps her in a nice controlled environment.