I took Applejack to team penning this past Sunday. Or at least I thought I did.
I was pretty sure that's who loaded, unloaded and got tacked up. During the warm up I started to wonder though...
Then, sure enough, during the first half of penning HE showed up, Applejackass.
That darn Appy was a little TOO excited to see cows, and chase cows!!!
He got a little insolent. A little head strong. A little too sure that he was running the show. And when I disagreed he bucked, sorta. Just a teeny little humpy hop.
On the next run he made a little more effort and gave an honest to goodness buck (although it still wasn't much of a buck it was a real buck). For that he got tuned. Same as I did when he tried bucking on the barrel pattern. If you remember I had to tune him in and remind him that I was 'boss hoss' and make him W-O-R-K.
Well on the third run he threw me a new one. He reared. :o
Never has he tried this and to be honest my heart jumped up into my throat. Rearing is THE scariest horse behaviour (for me). I managed to stay calm and keep my weight balanced so I didn't pull on his face or throw his weight backward and cause us to fall. When he came down a gave him a kick forward and put him to work. Hoping that he would realize that rearing equals more work (a fitting punishment as he is by nature quite lazy lol)
During the lunch break I downed a quick sandwich and headed back to the arena. You see I was pretty sure I knew why Applejack had disappeared and his evil twin had resurfaced.
Our warm up was cut short due to the cattle being fresh. They had seen horses before but not been worked with horses. So during the warm up the executive asked the members to stop so they could slowly and calmly move the cattle down the arena, through the pen and back a few times each. Unfortunately after they were done we just went ahead and started the penning, no extra warm up time was given for that time we had lost.
While Applejackass was trying to get the better of me I was thinking about that. We had warmed up a bit but he was still rough and choppy at his lope departures. That is a huge clue with this guy. If he hasn't got his "vinegar" worked out of him during warm up he tends to be rough. That usually surfaces in the work after with some mild little bucks and humpiness. So during lunch we rode.
Some trotting and walking to get him limber and then loping circles. Slow down to a trot and lope off again. And more circles and circles. Soon enough those lope departures were nice and smooth. We loped so many circles that I could feel him saying "please NO more circles. I will be a good boy"
We did one more circle.
Then we walked and got our breath back. (yes OUR lol)
And you know what? Applejack was there for the second half :)
He got excited but he was attentive to what I was asking and he listened. And we (Ben, Julie and I) were the only team to pen all 3 cows on both of our runs in the second half!