السبت 22 يونيو 2024

Broke Horse vs. Schooled Horse

موقع أيام نيوز

When I started out with horses it was as a working cowboy. The horses I rode all belonged to the ranch I worked for and I thought because I made my living on the back of a horse that I was a good rider. The horses I rode were for the most part considered “broke.”

This did not mean that a horse wouldn’t buck you off, it just meant that he knew enough to do his job which was basically to go anywhere he was pointed without argument; be able to rope a cow and hold her; and to allow the rider to open and close a gate without dismounting. He would also load into a trailer and stand for his feet to be done.

There were obviously horses broke to different degrees. The better broke horses were used at prime times of the year like branding. Amidst the chaos of a branding corral the horses had to be very stable and capable of dealing with massive amounts of environmental stress from 200 cows and their calves bawling to find their respective pair, the roaring branding fire, and the ground crew moving around, almost underneath the horses at times. The horses had to be able to pull the calves that were roped over to the fire, hold the tension on the rope until the calf was branded and processed, and then do it a hundred times. The best horses were saved for the fall when the calves were weaned from their mothers. The sorting and cutting was when those well broke horses really showed their worth and made the job easier.

Many of the horses had a bit of an edge but there were very few horses that were considered problems partly because the cowboys who rode them were horsemen with the natural ability and experience to deal with situations and partly out of necessity. The men I rode with taught me a great deal about working through whatever came up because you simply could not stop; there was a job to do. These ranch horses put on hundreds of miles in a month and quickly learned that those miles were going to be traveled whether they were well behaved or not. If they were difficult they just got more work, so they were mostly well behaved. A problem horse was “camped on” until he was too tired to fight.

Although considered broke the ranch horses did not have a great deal of finely tuned training. This varied greatly depending on which cowboy rode the horse but generally speaking there were not a lot of luxury options like lead changes, sliding stops, or extended movements.