Gaited Dressage Western Style

Western Gaited Dressage

By Jennifer Klitzke

When I heard that Hi Circle Vee Ranch was offering another beginner’s cow clinic, I had to sign up my naturally gaited walking horse. We needed a Spring Break!

On Sunday, February 2, 2014, I trailered to the facility worried that I wouldn’t find a place to park since 27 riders were signed up for the two-hour clinic. To my surprise I was the first one there. Looking at my dash, the temperature read -10 degrees. Then I wondered if the clinic had been cancelled.

Soon two more trailers showed up for a total of five riders. Twenty-two people had cancelled due to the polar vortex, but it wasn’t cold inside Hi Circle Vee’s indoor.  I thoroughly enjoyed riding in good footing and a 55-degree climate.

Normally at these clinics each rider gets two five-minute coaching sessions with the cows, but because of the low turnout, the five of us had LOTS of cow time. The first hour gave each horse plenty of time to get familiar with the cows. Then the second hour we were given an introduction to sorting cows. In our four runs, we got lots of practice guarding the hole, cutting off sneaky cows, improving our timing, adding more speed, and judging our position with the cows. Our dressage training had really paid off!

What a gas! I never imagined that this dressage rider would be working with cows until a friend encouraged me to give it a try, and now I think working with cows is one of my favorite things to do with my gaited horse.

Thank you to the clinic organizers at Hi Circle Vee Ranch for such a great experience.

Video: Introduction to Sorting Cows