KBR Horse Net

Closeup Feature

Roping off Dan

Dan didn't originally like to canter... at least while saddled. With his leg length he could trot as fast as most horses could canter, so he didn't see the need to. however we wanted him to canter - in a safe environment - so that he could get used to responding to aids at that speed.

We tried chasing him with other horses using ropes and flags. He just trotted away. We even "ambushed" him from across the arena, but after two or three strides at canter, he was at the end of the arena and back at a fast trot.

Danny on Ned, Willis on Dan and Steve on Sam

Danny Love suggested we take him roping. He reasoned that horses liked to chase cows and it would feel natural for him to canter under saddle. I figured "why not?" Nothing else was working short of really sticking it to him, which we didn't want to do.

The cowboys were sure laughing when we showed up at roping practice with a draft horse! We let Dan get used to the cows and all and then put him in the box with HotShoe on top.

The first time out he trotted after the cow. (The cowboys continued to laugh.) Danny suggested we now let Dan watch the other horses for a few minutes. Next time in the Box, Dan took a couple of steps at trot, then cantered after the cow.

Danny Love roping off Dan

I got on about the 5th run. When the gate opened, I felt a huge swell of energy in the great beast and we shot out of there like a rocket! Dan had turned all that pulling power into a sprint, and we overtook the cow about halfway down the arena! The cowboys were still laughing, but they weren't making fun of "that great big horse" any more!

Other "Dan" closeups appear in these links:

Dan as a youngster

Driving the team

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