It’s Out! The January / February issue of Western Horse Review is in the mail and this one is not to be missed. Seriously. With features on western weddings, equine careers and schools, wild horses, plus much, much more – this edition is visually stunning and a heck of a way to ring in the new year. A year, I should mention, that marks the 20th anniversary of WHR. Which means that you can you count on the WHR team to bring you a year’s worth of epic issues and page, after page, of literary spellbinders.
And I’m happy to announce that I have a special piece in this issue featuring Cowboy Challenge superstar, Jim Anderson of Strathmore, Alberta. Training and health editorial have always been somewhat of a passion of mine, so I was delighted when I got the chance to go on a “ride-along” with Anderson for this article.
“Jimmy” of course, was aboard his World Champion Cowboy Challenge mount “Patch.”
Unlike myself, who followed the pair into a steep coulee aboard an orange steed named, “Kubota.”
In this editorial, Anderson shares his best training tips for cowboy challenge competition. And I was lucky enough to capture it all while watching him and Patch do things like this:
And if I remember correctly, it was at this point that my trusty steed… bucked.
Low and behold, my blackberry fell right out of my pocket. Never to be seen again. <sad face> I was probably lucky to hang on to my camera.
Even still, it was a good day. And
I’m happy with how the article turned out. Here’s a little teaser to lead into Secrets of an Xtreme Cowboy…
FROM REININGS TO COWBOY CHALLENGES
Anderson began trying his hand at cowboy challenges in 2011, and Patch has even less time in this particular arena. The eight-year-old mare, registered as Picasmokinlittlelena, sustained an injury early on in life, preventing her from being shown as a reining futurity prospect. Patch went on to foal “Hesa Shotgun Wedding”, but as his name indicates, the colt was not a planned incident.
After the colt was weaned, Anderson began training Patch for reining but discovered early in 2012 that she had a real knack for extreme cowboy challenges.
“She’s a really good-minded mare and she’s really confident in anything she does, so it was a good fit,” he says.
The trainer relays that a good cowboy challenge horse is one with a kind disposition and a lot of confidence in their rider.
“The ones that will try going over a steep hill or through water without knowing how deep it is, or whatever – if they will try for you even when they don’t know what’s coming up, those are the horses that are ideal for cowboy challenges. By nature, Patch has a lot of confidence in me and she tried everything I threw at her, so I knew she would be good at the event.”
With a shelf full of NRHA bronzes and trophy buckles and a list of credentials that requires several clicks of a computer mouse to scroll down, one may wonder why Anderson ever began to pursue the discipline of cowboy challenges in the first place.
“At many of the reining and horsemanship clinics I teach, I saw a lot of people having trouble with obstacles and communicating with their horses through this type of stuff. Sometimes it was as simple as a rider merely wanting to be able to ride from the barn to the arena, or go for a trail ride. Those are the little things that are actually big things,” the trainer states.
Anderson explains that realistically, there are many arena-ridden horses who find their nemesis packing their riders over little hills or down the trail on short rides, because they aren’t exposed to that type of scenario very often.
“So I started helping them get through those kinds of obstacles and teaching their horses how to learn, in addition to helping the horses have confidence and trust in their riders. From that, I realized there was a real demand for this stuff.
“Plus”, he grins, “It’s fun.”
Be sure to pick up the January / February issue of WHR! And for more on Jimmy’s credentials and whirlwind 2012, check out: World Champion Next Door