Mad Jack Hanks: Tales from the O-NO Ranch 7-25-11
I just returned from a quick trip over the hill to Glade Park, Colo., to visit with my son Andy and his little tribe and to let them meet my lady friend, Debbi.
My oldest grandson, Gavin, was gone off up the mountain on one of the ranch horses just to have something to do. It turns out he went on a ride that was about 15 miles total. In their corral was a really good looking filly about to turn two years of age. Andy told me that Gavin was working for a lady and she would let him work for the gift of the filly if that was agreeable to him. It was. Maybe not with dad. “It’s a 30 day trial period,” says Andy. “If he sticks with it and doesn’t slack off he can keep the horse.”
I am not a real big fan of mares for ranch horses, gentle readers. That’s just one man’s opinion of course. However, I have seen some really outstanding ranch horses that were mares. We had one of those kind of mares on the Texas ranch. This particular filly that Gavin has been given the kind of conformation one would want in a ranch horse and she is also beautiful. I worked with her briefly while we were there and found her to be extremely quiet, alert and wanting very much to please.
Gavin is 15 and that is just about the age his dad was when he broke his first horse. Ole Andy will be a great teacher for his son and I have no doubt that if he sticks with it and does the things his dad shows him how to do, they will have an outstanding ranch horse for the future.
I have broken a few horses in my cowboy career. Not many, less than a dozen perhaps. I have ridden a good many outside horses over the years. An outside horse is one usually that is “green
broke,” meaning that he or she is not considered a broke horse and gentle enough for the average person to ride. It could also be a horse that is broke but needs to have a little tune up on him or maybe get enough experience to go to the next level whatever that might be.
I am really happy that Gavin is following in his dad’s and grandad’s footsteps. Taking the right amount of time to break a horse and do it in such a manner that your finished product is something that you would want to take to the neighbor’s branding.
Horses are like folks. Some are reasonable, quiet, easy to get along with and have a desire to do something different. Some are spooked at everything that moves. They are not likely to want to trust your behavior and will fight with you at almost every opportunity. Those kind of ponies usually don’t work out in the end unless they go in a rodeo bucking string.
Breaking a horse is, in my humble opinion, a real confidence builder for a young person, boy or girl. It can be dangerous but it can also be the most rewarding thing that a young person will do for a long time to come. I know I liked it. I wasn’t any kid when I broke my first horse but I do know that it made a difference in the way I looked at myself. Good luck Gavin. Give it your best shot.
Stay tuned, check yer cinch on occasion and I’ll c y’all, all y’all.