Greatest Stories of the Current News
Working Cowhorse at the 2008 Fall World Championships
My first class was the Working Cowhorse Sweepstakes and I was most nervous. I had seen the cows be really wild, crazy and fast here before - I was worried I might get left behind. Apparently my concerns were legitimate.
Although the horse in front of me had a cow who was terrified to come out and see the lights - mine was not quite so much. I was feeling pretty good after my dry work (reining pattern) but my joy was short-lived.
Before I completed the first nod of my head I saw him in silhouette - the wildest fastest cow of my career. His tail was thrown straight up over his back and his telltale hump and loose skin swung like the ugliest old woman you ever saw. Dixon and I had the biggest eyes in the entire building when that cow shot out straight toward us.
I wasn't prepared for how to handle such a beast - safe to assume Dixon wasn't either. We moved forward and our crazy cow hesitated, flipped us his tail and was off. I'm not sure if everyone else noticed the hesitation but our heads simultaneously whipped around following our cow, without our feet (not unlike spectators at a tennis match). I realized where we were, told Dixon and we took off after him. We caught up faster than you'd think and got him worked, no brilliant control but we did complete our mission after our initial brain lapse.
We ended up Reserve (second) in the Limited (not open to the World Champion from the past 3 yrs) and fourth in the Open (open to anyone). I was ecstatic! Dixon was really good :)
The next day we got to go to the home of Craig Johnson, million dollar reiner and multiple (like 26 times) World Champion. We have become friends after several clinics and PNH. Craig was excited and happy at how well I had done (after hearing about the ribbons I won). After I arrived, I explained the truth of the situation - the cow was CRAZY! He explained, "Of course it was. These are no east coast cows. They are Texas Runners - a breed mixed heavily with Brahma to add speed, thriftiness and an aggressive temperament so when they are out on these huge ranches they can not only survive but thrive on the sparse vegetation and fend off predators (like all the coyotes). You can't handle them like the beef cattle of the east coast, you must run them down, crowd them and show them you can handle them."
Well I had only been trained on the east coast cattle (mostly angus/herford crosses; occasionally a little longhorn gets into them making them excellent jumpers), I had never faced these beasts from the west! I suppose my 'give them room', 'be brave but don't be stupid' (brave = move toward the cow when it is standing still; stupid = move towards the cow where it is moving) directions were not given to deal with Texas Runners. Next year I will make much effort to go practice on some faster wilder cows before I go show. Then watch out - Dixon and I will (might) be breathing down the necks of all those boys (there were no other girls/women in my class).