Horsin’ Around 7-13-09
Fort Collins, Colo.
A weekend or so back I went to a Cow Sort contest at the Ranch in Loveland, Colo. No, I didn’t win any money but I met up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in four or five years.
His name is Shawn Hall, I had watched him at a contest and liked the way he worked his horses. In fact he had about three of them that he was riding in the contest. I took some photos and wrote a story about him. Then losing track, I did not know how he was doing. Oh, I got a letter or two from him but knew how tough it is to make a living training horses and then finding a buyer that wants them.
We sat up in the stands when a break came and caught up with each other about what has taken place over the past few years. Shawn said he finally bought a place in Wiggins, Colo., because he got tired of leasing a place and then have the owners sell it and having to look for another.
Shawn advised he was training a number of horses and competing in professional roping and other events to make ends meet. But his main income was to train a horse and sell it for a good price. However with the country’s decline in economy it was getting harder to make a living because no one had the money to pay good prices for a good horse.
Shawn described several of the horses he was training. Though I am keeping my eye out for a new horse, when he told me the price he had come down to, I said I couldn’t afford one of his horses – even though I would love to own one and I think I could win money on one of his mounts.
We continued to visit about horses we had owned for about an hour, and then he told a story that was hard to believe. He owned a mare for along time, and she became ill with a blocked intestine. He took her to the vet, and the vet said she would not make it. He took her home because he could not afford to have her treated. To his surprise and the vet’s, the horse lived. Soon as I get the particular of the story and the vet’s permission, I be running a story about it at a later time.
A Cow Sorting contest is a team of two that enter a round pen with a gate open to a second round pen. Anywhere from five to 10 yearling cows are in the second pen. As the one rider crosses through the gate, time starts and a number is called. The team is allowed between 45 and 90 seconds to sort all the cattle out of the pen and put them in the second pen. The first rider must bring out that yearling and the next rider goes after the next number. Consecutive numbers must be followed when bringing out the yearlings. If a different number is brought out, the team is disqualified. I enjoy this game and my horse, though 24 years old, enjoys it as well. I just wish there were more of these going around this part of the country. It is growing in popularity, and maybe it will.
Prior to his retirement, Roger Thompson was a CHA certified instructor of advanced Western horsemanship and beginning English riding.
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