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Conversations With A Young Horse Wrangler


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Many of you know that my 21-year-old son, Dakota, works as a horse wrangler for a living. He also makes some side money working cattle, and also as a bullfighter in rodeos. (Bullfighter as in the guy that saves fallen cowboys, not the Mexican kind with the red cape.)

I mentioned in another thread that Dakota has recently become more interested in watching Bonanza. (Miracles do happen!) He has known about my Bonanza fansite addiction for years and just recently, all on his own, expressed a desire to answer questions BonanzaBrand posters might have about horses, wrangling and the like. If people seem to be interested in something like that, maybe we could do a sort of Question and Answer thread. I even considered doing his answers in the form of video so he could more easily show what he means for subjects such as how to hold and throw a lasso, how to hold on when a horse bucks, etc, etc, etc. Just any western cowboy type of questions that people might be curious about.

Interest? Suggestions? Comments?

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So cool that Dakota is willing to answer our questions!

A really great idea for fanfic writers that don't know a dadblamed thing about horses. :)

Like me. I've always wanted to know how you hang on to a horse that is bucking. (I have ridden only very tame horses) Intinctively I would pull the reins up short, squeeze with my thighs and hang on for dear life. How soon would I fall flat on my face? Also, why do those rodeo guys always have one hand in the air when they are riding bucking horses? (I told you I know nothing :lol)

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:lol Lilbuddie, that's exactly what the thread would be for---to answer questions of people who know little or nothing! (Though of course questions from those who are more knowledgeable would also be welcome.)

At the moment, I'm just trying to determine whether or not there would be an interest for a thread like that.

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Okay, I've got a couple questions:

1. How do you teach a horse to ground-tie? (Is that even the correct way to phrase it?) How long does it take? Once the horse is trained, can you truly just drop the reins and walk away knowing that the horse will be there whenever you get back?

2. In The Hayburner, Joe was going to break approximately 18 horses in two weeks. Is that a realistic timeframe to break that many horses? If not, why not?

3. Are ranch horses usually shod? Most of the horses at my barn are shod at least on the front (some have shoes on all four hooves), but some do go barefoot because the owners think that's more natural. These, of course, are pleasure horses whose biggest task is going for a half-day trail ride every now and then. What about working horses? Shoes or barefoot?

Thanks in advance, Dakota!

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It may take us a few days to get back to you with the answers, depending on what his schedule is. But he'll be having some down time in which to do it--on Friday night he was hurt in the rodeo arena and ended up with a dislocated shoulder and a badly torn rotator cuff. Doc says to take it easy for a few weeks.

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Hopefully not. The doctor is hopeful it will heal on its own with rest and steroids.

By the way, Patina, he just read through this thread and wanted to know what "Quarter Bouncin' Queen" stood for. I explained it, and he nodded thoughtfully and said, "This is true. Joe's pants are pretty tight." :lol

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Hopefully not. The doctor is hopeful it will heal on its own with rest and steroids.

By the way, Patina, he just read through this thread and wanted to know what "Quarter Bouncin' Queen" stood for. I explained it, and he nodded thoughtfully and said, "This is true. Joe's pants are pretty tight." :lol

That's good news about his shoulder.

:rotfl his pants observation.

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This is going to be interesting.

I always like to hear how professionals are doing the job.

I know a lot about horses but I'm still the amateur.

I always wonder how long one can do a hard job like that.

A young body can take falls and injuries much easier than an older one.

I have a parttime job in a holiday horsecamp for kids. When I was younger I worked more with the horses now I'm older my job is more with the kids. :lol Not that they are easier to deal with, but less physical.

My neighbor is training horses and giving riding lessons.

She is fifty now and pretty fit but not like twenty years ago anymore.

Of cause the horses today are usually not to be catched in the wild anymore (at least here in Germany), one sometimes has more to deal with how they are spoiled by their owners.

I wish you a fast recovery, Dakota. Take care.

I'm looking forward to the answers.

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Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. We appreciate them.

Indyanna, yes, I guess go ahead and put the questions here. I had intended to start a new thread once I had determined whether or not there was interest, but I suppose there is no real need to do that. We'll just keep it right here.

Idmarryhoss, what exactly does SPB stand for? I'm giving Dakota the questions like this: Lilbuddie from Fance asks...pjb from Connecticut asks...Patina from Louisiana asks... Just doing it so he'll know at least a little bit of background from the asker, plus it will help the rest of us learn more about each other when we watch the videos. No big deal; I just thought it would add a bit of interest. :)

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Tell Dakota to stop getting injured, will ya?? :D

I've been inundated with tales about this kind of stuff since expressing an interest in it, but I'd like another perspective, too. ;) For one, what kinds of injuries do they tend to get, and how do they feel about them? Do they man-up too much and pay for it later, or do they listen to their doctor's advice? The advice of fellow riders?

How many horses does he feel a ranch would need to have to run a thousand head of cattle? Provided they didn't have trucks, of course.

Would a working ranch really have kept their horses in a barn through all seasons? :D

How do they handle the various injuries the horses get?

What does he think of English saddles? Side saddles?

Is it better to be light and wiry, or big and brawny, to be a wrangler? Or does it matter?

How long does he feel you should ride at a gallop? (Thinking of the scenes where the Cartwrights ride into town at a full out gallop, hinting they did that the entire two hours)

What sort of temperment does he prefer for a plain riding horse? Working horse?

Has he ever driven a wagon?

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Guest idmarryhoss

Thanks for the well wishes, everyone. We appreciate them.

Indyanna, yes, I guess go ahead and put the questions here. I had intended to start a new thread once I had determined whether or not there was interest, but I suppose there is no real need to do that. We'll just keep it right here.

Idmarryhoss, what exactly does SPB stand for? I'm giving Dakota the questions like this: Lilbuddie from Fance asks...pjb from Connecticut asks...Patina from Louisiana asks... Just doing it so he'll know at least a little bit of background from the asker, plus it will help the rest of us learn more about each other when we watch the videos. No big deal; I just thought it would add a bit of interest. :)

How fun! SPB is short for Saint Petersburg (Russia, not US), which I will also be saying farewell in a no-time. You can tell Idmarryhoss comes from Father Christmas' city up in Northern Finland where it's already arctic. By time of writing also snowy and dark. :)

I'd like to know if there are big "gangs" opposite to each other, each other's views... like folks from Texas snort at the folks from Nevada who wear their stirrups too high/low etc. stuff. Are they distinguishable on saddle or in the rodeos? Do you wear different style of boots, colours on your outfit etc? :lol

This actually has basis on the rural Finland, both in villages and in the nomad tribes the girls and boys had special colours, girls wore a hat or a band in their head to show if they are married or not, and so on.

I think the Sami folks still know pretty well from which village, which families, which reindeer owners and what family and marital status a person comes from by just looking at the outfit and garments, bands and the sort around legs and embroideries on the collars/hat. Or something. I don't know this tradition, but it fascinates me to no end.

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Those intense moments together would not have worked so well if they were having to tramp across a field, yelling for their horses now, would they? And they wouldn't have had all those deadly pitchforks and shovels to hand either when they had a punch up.

What I've never quite figured out is why the horses are always hanging out at the hitching posts in the yard, all saddled up and ready to go. Half the time, they don't even have to tighten the cinch. Who leaves a horse like that indefinitely? (Or is that a western thing, Dakota?)

P.S. Dakota, hope you feel better soon!

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I hope Dakota is feeling better soon. It sure is nice for him to offer to answer our questions. I think that others might have better questions than I, but I will still learn a lot form everything that he has to tell us. Perhaps we will need to start giving him credit at the end of our stories “Technical/Western consultant Dakota” like they do in Hollywood.

Can't wait for the thread to start!

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