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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2008
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    The Great Northwest!
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    Default Team Penning ?'s

    Hope this is the correct place for this, makes me kinda wish there was a Western Forum...

    About 45 minutes south of where I live there are Team Pennings that happen every two weeks. I wanted to go last winter but never got my behind in gear, that and the roads were too horrible to Hall from November to February...
    So this year I am determined to go! I've heard they are so much fun. My horse is an ex-cutting horse so the cows shouldn't be a problem, and I've ridden western quite a bit trail riding ( I'll wear my helmet I promise ) A few questions though..

    Do you usually need to bring your own team?

    What should I expect? ( I don't want to look like an idiot, and I want to be safe)

    Anything my horse and I should brush up on before we go?

    Since these are just fun "play day" types, I'm also going to guess that I can use whatever bit I want.

    Anyone want to go with me??? They are in Lewiston, Idaho (most of you guys aren't from anywhere close to here!) and I do have one open spot in my trailer.

    Thanks for any feedback wonderful COTHers!



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun. 2, 2009
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    1,258

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by LoveGirl83102 View Post

    Do you usually need to bring your own team?
    Nope not normally. A team will be made up for you. It's really only at money earning competitions that you need to have your team. Playdays are just that .

    What should I expect? ( I don't want to look like an idiot, and I want to be safe)
    You should expect to have an awful lot of fun. We have lots of team penning where I live, from schooling right up to high money earning. The schooling penning is by far much more fun than the competitions. I occasionally compete at it but I have a far more wonderful time at the low level penning.

    Anything my horse and I should brush up on before we go?
    Turns, spins, very speedy transitions, and whoa's. I adore riding my 2 cutting horses. We only pen in the summer so they get low time for the rest of the year. I tend to start bringing them back into doing their cues immediately the moment I ask around about April time so that by the time May comes along they are both tweaked and on top form obedience-wise.

    Since these are just fun "play day" types, I'm also going to guess that I can use whatever bit I want.
    Yes, generally any bit is acceptable. Western saddles are mandatory though.

    Anyone want to go with me??? They are in Lewiston, Idaho (most of you guys aren't from anywhere close to here!) and I do have one open spot in my trailer.
    I'm too far away, lol. You will have a blast!



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct. 18, 2000
    Location
    Connecticut
    Posts
    7,870

    Default

    Do you usually need to bring your own team?
    If this is a fun day type of thing, then probably not. Most likely they will set you up in some rides with other riders. If this was for serious money, you would want to set up all of your rides with other riders in advance to give you the best shot at scoring a paycheck.

    What should I expect? ( I don't want to look like an idiot, and I want to be safe)
    You should expect to have fun. Let them know that this is your first time, and don't be shy about declaring your novice state. Some of these teams are going to need to include a novice in order to run, so you should be able to get some rides. See if they will allow you to help settle the cows a few times to let you get used to being in the ring with cattle. On your first few runs, you may be asked to hold back the cows while others go into the herd and cut out their cow. Once you get used to what goes on, ask if you can try, and then go into the herd SLOWLY. This is one of those times when going slowly and getting your cow turns into a fast run and a good time. If you go flying into the herd, they spring apart like marbles. Once you get your cow and are headed back to the pen, check for too many cows near the pen ('trash' which will need to be driven back to the side you cut them from) announce which side you will be covering, and get there ASAP. When you get to the pen and the cows are in, stop and RAISE YOUR HAND so the timer will stop the clock. The fastest time wins the round. During your ride, expect there to be much arbitrary moving around, split second changing of directions, and good verbal communication between team members. Ex-cutters don't always pan out in this, so expect to hear about that as well. They are trained to stay on the cow once it is selected, and sometimes you have to give it up and go to the next one wearing the same number, which is sometimes hard for them to deal with. Wear ropers for boots so if something goes wrong and you go off the saddle, your foot can slide out of the boot and not get hung up in the stirrup. Bring drinking water for both you and your horse, and most likely a lunch. If you feel comfortable wearing a helmet, do so. Most penners don't, but they would never harass a novice about this. You are supposed to be trying it to see if you like it. Expect a coarser, more upfront sense of humor displayed than one would find at shows.

    Anything my horse and I should brush up on before we go?
    Be able to walk, jog and lope while sitting deep in the saddle, not perched on top of it. Be able to sit the roll back. And be able to sit a fast stop, because things get wild in the ring, and nothing is predictable. Don't worry about riding pretty. Worry about staying on through the craziness.

    Since these are just fun "play day" types, I'm also going to guess that I can use whatever bit I want.
    Use the bit that your horse will feel comfortable enough to run down the ring in, but will give you the control to call him off a cow, and give you the stop you need if you should have to stop in a hurry. Ditto for the saddle. Use what works best for the two of you, and don't worry about it.

    Have fun!



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul. 14, 2000
    Location
    midwest
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    10,152

    Default

    I do a little Team Sorting which is like Team Penning Light. In addition to finding a person or two to make your team, you'll often be asked to flesh out someone else's team. It's always fun to work with other folks.

    I use my hunting saddle because frankly I can't ride very well in a western saddle, especially at speed. In a practice or fun night the equipment is never an issue.

    Go for it and enjoy it!!



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Posts
    288

    Default

    First and foremost, have fun!!!!

    Agree with Chief 2 about the cutting horse. If your horse has been trained as a true cutting horse, then the horse will want to work parallel to a single cow that you have sorted out from the herd. The ideal, well-trained cutting horse walks on eggshells into a herd, handles very quietly while separating cattle down to the one you want, and then works a single cow in a parallel position. When the horse stops and turns with the cow, it does so on the same straight line. A good cow-smart horse might give a little ground to hold a tough cow, but "coming out" (stepping out) towards the cow is a major bad thing in the cutting horse competition world. So, if the horse is a true trained cutter, it might be reluctant to run around the pen "kicking the cow in the butt" (chasing it); rather, your horse will want to stay parallel to the cow or even maybe "head" (go past) it a hair. If that happens, the cow will likely turn and go the other way.

    Now, if your horse is not a fully trained cutter, but just has some cow training, it likely will not respond in the above fashion.

    Some terms to be aware of besides those noted above: (1) "cow fresh" - a horse that likes to work cattle and has not done so in a long time. A "cow fresh" horse will often buck with something akin to horsey happiness when it starts working the first cow:-) (2) "black baldy" - a cross-breed cow with a white face; generally black with a white face (3) "cow with a lot of ear" - a Brahma cross cow with big ears; often fast like a deer! Terms like (2) and (3) are how cutting/penning people describe cattle - and there are tons more descriptions along those lines - and are good to know so you're clear which cow your team wants you to go after.

    I know there are tons of other "cutter" terms out there, but I am brain dead right now! Anybody want to add to the list?



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan. 14, 2006
    Location
    Nashville, TN
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    4,004

    Default

    My boarding barn used to have team penning play days and I used to bring my (eventing) students from the barn I taught at. We rode in english saddles on horses that had never seen cows and just had fun. They would give us some extra time to move the cows around and occasionally we'd pen three. Mostly it was just great experience for everyone!



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov. 5, 2002
    Location
    way out west
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    3,088

    Default

    I started out at sortings rather than the pennings because I was totally intimidated. Just a thought....their expectations might be LOWER.

    I had a blast, though, on my 16.2 hh gelding surrounded by 14.2 hh horses. Once my team mates and I discovered that he was very quiet in the herd and he was great about quickly cutting out the right cows it was so much fun, and I didn't feel like I couldn't contribute. He got into it in a hurry, by the way, and I was very glad for that saddle horn!

    Report back and let us all know how it goes.



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
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    288

    Default

    Oh, I forgot something very important! "Read" the cow, that is, try to see what you think the cow is going to do. If it looks like it is going to stop, then park your bottom in the saddle and help your horse with the stop. If it looks like it is going to turn, don't lean toward the cow but instead stay even in the saddle and (if your horse is cowy), he will be there turning with the cow faster than you can think about it. Just try not get in his way and just stay balanced.

    Another thing very important! If you are riding western and need the saddle horn - PUSH on it, don't pull. You will pull yourself right over the horse's head if he stops quick or stops quick and turns. So, always, always push, never pull!

    See if you can get some internet info on controlling cows, although really the best way to learn that is on foot. Barring that, understand that cattle have "zones" where you can influence their movement. If you have your horse from in front of their nose to the front of their ears, they are generally going to turn and go the opposite direction. If you have your horse at about mid-neck to barely the shoulder, they will continue moving in the same direction at the same speed (hopefully). If you get behind the shoulder, you are "pushing" the cow and it is going to generally go faster in the direction it is already headed. Controlling a cow is never easy, that is certain, but it is fun, fun, fun!



  9. #9
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    Jul. 4, 2008
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    Default Thanks!

    Wow you guys are great! Thanks for all the info.

    My mare was used for cutting as a four year old, and she was professionally trained, but she "flunked " out of cutting school. I was told by the people I bought her from that she couldn't focus on just one cow and was concerned about the ones behind her. We moved cows before, and cleaned the area during a roping, so at least she isn't scared of cows.... I"m going to lunge her really well before we go. I have a feeling she will get very excited to see cows again.

    I will definitely pack a few different headstalls. I usually ride her in a snaffle but I'll bring something a little stronger in case... Haha! There is no way I could ride English and do this! My horse is WAY to quick on her feet. And I love my dressage saddle too much...

    I figured I'd be the only non child in a helmet, but until I know how my mare is going to react it's a smart move. I just wish it wasn't a giant periwinkle blue bubble....

    I will definitely let you guys know how it goes! They don't start until Nov, so I have some time to get my Coggins and Brand Inspection taken care of.

    Thanks for all the support. I might even be brave enough to go on my own!



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Aug. 25, 2008
    Location
    Florida
    Posts
    2,031

    Default

    We used to put these on WAY back when they were first getting started, and they were really fun. It was also GREAT for us because we had a good herd of roping steers and ropings were getting fewer and farther in between, and this was really fun for a greater number of people. Our steers were really cagey, though, and we ended up getting a different herd just for the pennings .

    It works best if you do have a dedicated team, and a few steers to practice on (particularly if they're really wild!) but a pickup team can be a LOT of fun and a great way to meet new people. I've done it on other people's horses, too, and that was an adventure, but good training for the horses.



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Posts
    288

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    LG - Cutters are started in a snaffle typically. No need to use anything more, most likely. I often work my show horses (the trained cutting horses) in a snaffle at home. The trained cutting horse is very responsive to leg - once you've sorted a cow out at a cutting show, you "put your hand down" and can only cue the horse via leg. Of course, in penning that is not the case, so you can use your hands as well. Probably better to go softer for the type of bit initially because us ammies tend to get a little excited about working the cow and pull a little too hard on the horse's face at first:-)

    Also, even as a flunk-out cutter, your horse is probably used to being trotted and loped quite a bit before working cattle. If you can, don't lunge her at home - just ride her when you get to the place they're having the penning. That will settle her more because she'll get to see and hear the cattle and be more in the "routine" of a cutting horse. That routine is: travel to show, walk/trot/lope until she is settled (generally lots of trotting and loping, pending fitness level), and then work cattle.

    Penning is a great way to introduce yourself to cow work -- I'll bet you will have a blast if you just go, enjoy yourself, and don't worry about a thing!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2008
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    The Great Northwest!
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    Default Snaffles

    Kypeep you are so right! When I bought my horse she was ridden in a double twisted wire snaffle! Yuck! She has such a soft mouth, that if I do pull on her mouth she gets really pissy (and I think I would probably too if I were her :-) ). She almost killed me when I first got her and put a Tom Thumb in her mouth (horrible choice of bit on my part, and I won't ever do it again). This summer I was going to show her western ( a first for us), but I didn't want to have to ride her in a curb bit. My trainer actually found us a shanked bit that was broken twice, so I could have shown in that, but we ended up not going to the show. I hate that Western horses have to use curbs, I know there are reasons behind it, but that's why I don't show western...

    And about the lunging- Your right, it doesn't make any sense to work her and then trailer for an hour... My plan it is get to the arena early so we have lots of time to get out spunk out...and get comfortable with the cows.

    Now I'm really excited... And I think I'll be brave enough to go by myself.



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2008
    Posts
    120

    Default I thought that sounded familar!

    Quote Originally Posted by LoveGirl83102 View Post
    Hope this is the correct place for this, makes me kinda wish there was a Western Forum...

    About 45 minutes south of where I live there are Team Pennings that happen every two weeks. I wanted to go last winter but never got my behind in gear, that and the roads were too horrible to Hall from November to February...
    So this year I am determined to go! I've heard they are so much fun. My horse is an ex-cutting horse so the cows shouldn't be a problem, and I've ridden western quite a bit trail riding ( I'll wear my helmet I promise ) A few questions though..

    Do you usually need to bring your own team?

    What should I expect? ( I don't want to look like an idiot, and I want to be safe)

    Anything my horse and I should brush up on before we go?

    Since these are just fun "play day" types, I'm also going to guess that I can use whatever bit I want.

    Anyone want to go with me??? They are in Lewiston, Idaho (most of you guys aren't from anywhere close to here!) and I do have one open spot in my trailer.

    Thanks for any feedback wonderful COTHers!
    I thought that this sounded like where i live! I live in Preston Idaho! I just moved here and i have been hearing about these things. I use to live in Farmington Utah and went to these all the time! Where i was you would bring your own team. Three people per team. One that mainly goes in and gets your cow, one to run them to the other side, and one to keep them from coming back to the group. I would practice with some first and get your horses and your confidence up on chasing them. That is if you can get some to practice with. If you dont you are welcome to come and play around with myn. I would love to adventure to one of these with ya
    ~Your horse can only be as brave as you are~



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Sep. 28, 2008
    Posts
    120

    Default I also...

    I also agree that would be very nice to have a western forum
    ~Your horse can only be as brave as you are~



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 4, 2008
    Location
    The Great Northwest!
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    Default Argh your on the wrong side of Idaho!

    Gotta- So sad that you are on the other side of ID.... I just map quested Preston Idaho...I have yet to find anyone on COTH that lives near me.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Dec. 21, 2005
    Posts
    288

    Default

    Wish I were out there in the great West with ya'll instead of here in the SE!! My cowponies would probably like it too:-)



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jun. 7, 2005
    Location
    Rochester, NY
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    1,652

    Default

    Do you usually need to bring your own team?
    Not from my experience. I've gone to a few of these in my area (WNY) with a few friends, and you sign up with other riders when you get there. I was able to form a team with my friends, but also joined teams with other people.

    What should I expect? ( I don't want to look like an idiot, and I want to be safe)
    Fun! I'm an English rider, but man, I had a blast. They had riders ranging from experience Team Penners to those who'd never done it before. Our 2nd trip, we even came in 8th out of 90 rides, lol.

    Anything my horse and I should brush up on before we go?
    If you have cows handy, lol, maybe show him those.

    Since these are just fun "play day" types, I'm also going to guess that I can use whatever bit I want.
    There was no bit checks at the ones I went to


    Have fun!!!! I didn't get to go this year, but I'm hoping to try it again next summer!
    <3 Vinnie <3
    1992-2010
    Jackie's Punt ("Bailey") My Finger Lakes Finest Thoroughbred



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Oct. 26, 2003
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    Default

    Friends of mine who are TB racehorse trainers bring their ex-racers to our local TP competition and clean up - they win over the QHs almost all the time.



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