A Stab At Ranch Sorting

This past weekend Chexy and I embarked on a new adventure and tested our skill at a ranch-sortingevent. A friend at the office, who works at Horse&Rider’s sister companies USRider and Trail Rider magazine, joined us for this experience. Neither Lindsey nor myself had tried the event, but we were eager for a challenge as well as an opportunity to get away from the barn (we also board at the same facility) and enjoy time with our horses.

A local association hosts ranch sorting events every Saturday afternoon at an arena northeast of us, so we thought we’d give it a try! The format’s simple: pay for the number of runs you’d like to make; wait for your name to be selected and randomly paired with another participant; and try to sort as many cattle, in the correct order, as possible in the allotted one-minute timeframe.

Because Chexy and I had never sorted before, I wasn’t sure how my old boy would handle the chaos. He’s an ex-cow horse so I know he’s had plenty of experience with cattle, but I’m not sure if he’s ever encountered the close-quartered disorder he was faced with on Saturday.

As usual, he was a trooper. He not only exceeded my performance expectations but also even seemed to enjoy it. Lindsey had a similar experience with her mare Jolee. The community was also welcoming. Fellow riders were friendly, despite our being newbies, and even offered high-fives and “atta girl”s when we made solid sorts. 

The two of us had a blast, and are already plotting our next trip. Even more important than our own fun though, was the enjoyment experienced by both horses. Sorting offered a nice reprieve from our everyday riding schedule and was a nice challenge, both physically and mentally, for them. Trying something new reminded me the importance of cross training to improve my own horsemanship and my horse’s abilities. I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more fun events to try in the future.

 If you have any ideas, please email them to horseandrider@aimmedia.com, subject line ‘Fun Events.’ I’d also love to hear stories about a new event that you’ve tried.

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