Tuesday, Brett took Mufasa to a cow working clinic with a trainer recommended to him by Katy, our dressage trainer. Brett was nervous the night before, worrying about every nuance of taking Mufasa to the clinic. Brett had worked with Flash at a few cow clinics and they traveled to mounted patrol trainings all the time. But, he and Mufasa had not participated in clinics before.
Brett loaded up the trailer the day before with his western tack and made sure the trailer was set up with hay and clean shavings. Then he spent a fitful night thinking about the next day. I headed off to work, kissing Brett goodbye and wishing him luck. I'm not sure he noticed; he was very focused on the day ahead. Mufasa was a bit reluctant to load but walked in on the second attempt. He unloaded at the trainer's ranch and stood calmly while Brett got him tacked up.
Mufasa started his career as a competitive roping horse so cows don't bother him. At the clinic, Brett and Mufasa moved cows, sorted cows, and cut cows out of the herd. Mufasa did everything with level -headed calm. At one point, Brett and Mufasa were moving a cow down to the far end of the arena. The cow was pulling away from them and Brett knew that they were going to have to canter to get the job done. Flash enjoyed working cattle but he viewed it as an opportunity to throw in some yee-haw antics so Brett was a bit nervous about asking for canter given his history with Flash. Mufasa is a different horse. A very different horse. He cantered calmly after the cow with no silly behavior at all.
You may remember that Mufasa has some trust issues, especially with his face. After a year, he trusts me to rub his muzzle but he still flinches if I forget and try to rub his forehead. The trainer said that it is common for roping cowboys to hit their horses on the face while they are waiting in the box for their event to start. This is how they move the horse into the position to burst out of the box when the barrier drops. We know that Mufasa was sold because he wasn't fast enough out of the box. It isn't hard to imagine that he was roughed up a bit in an attempt to get him amped and fast out of the box. Mufasa's issues are consistent with being hit on the face - especially with a rope. He is distrustful of the rope while he is being groomed. But he's fine with a rope swinging around the horns of a cow.
I'm glad that they had a successful time together. They both had fun and they had an opportunity to build on their relationship. Brett's fired up and ready to find more clinics for him and Mufasa to attend.