Kid Horse Manners

  Kid Horse Manners 


                                                           Mike Capron

I bought a horse for my 5 year old son that came recommended from my friend and neighbor.   I didn’t know much about kid horses. When I was young I started riding shetlands and other local rejects. The Good Lord did a wonderful job of watching out for me. I did not have any serious wrecks growing up riding these rejects. But I didn’t learn much about horses either. My friend said he had just the horse I needed for my son to start riding. This kid horse was 8 years old, sound, stout, super gentle and wouldn’t cost me an arm and a leg. I was excited, probably more so than my son. I hauled the horse home and Wilson was ready to ride. We had a kids saddle that was left in the saddle barn. We saddled up and I helped Wilson clammer aboard.  I asked, “What are you going to call him….??”  Wilson never hesitated…….he said,  “Orange Crush”.  The horse was orange in color, not sure about the Crush, but the name stuck.    

We were gathering bulls and this was a perfect time to start Wilson on some riding projects.  He was riding and helping me herd bulls in small numbers to traps.  He was doing so good that I left him to take a bull to a windmill where we were putting several together in order to move to the bull trap. I left him driving this bull to the windmill and I saw another bull that I could start to the windmill while I kept an eye on how Wilson was doing.  Just before he got to the windmill with the bull, he came to a dead stop. I waited for a spell to see why he was holding up. I couldn’t see any reason for his stopping and so I hollered at him and motioned for him to come on, but he didn’t move. He was far enough away from me that I couldn’t tell what was the problem.  So I left my bull to go the windmill and trotted over to see what was the hold up. 

When I got there Orange Crush had both front feet tangled in a roll of barbed wire and he wasn’t moving a foot even with Wilson kicking on him.  I got Wilson dismounted and managed to get Orange Crush untangled from the barbed wire.  As soon as I got the wire drug off, I put Wilson back on Orange Crush and they were off to drive the bull to the windmill.  My thoughts were on Orange Crush and how smart he was to not fight that barbed wire more and get tangled and cut. He never turned a hair.  I thought I had better go pay for him again. It was the beginning of my education about stake braking a horse. When we got back to the house I called my neighbor and told him the story. He said that all his horses were that way as he was a big believer in stake braking all his horses.   This was a new term to me and I was completely ignorant of what he was taking about. He told me that stake breaking had been around since the Spaniards had brought the first horse to America. 

I have been doing it for 50 years and it works on all horses. We don’t stake our horses out to graze anymore, but it’s good education for a horse to learn how to stand on a stake rope.

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