Before I got My Boy, I did a lot of horse shopping. I would spend a gazillion hours online browsing sites such as Dreamhorse.com and various ranch and breeder websites. I often came across ads where the horse was labeled as ranch horse raised or ranch horse deluxe. I always thought that sounded ideal. My impression of a ranch horse was one that was tough, able to handle to any terrain, could work livestock, good around dogs, conditioned for long days of riding, etc. A working horse. A do anything horse. I recently read an article about the "Road to the Horse" challenge in the June issue of The Perfect Horse magazine and it got me wondering what being a ranch horse really means. What makes a good ranch horse? What are the pros and cons of purchasing one? Even if you do not want to necessarily work a ranch with it? The article in The Perfect Horse said that the horses brought in for the trainer's challenge were halter broke as weanlings, and were rounded up and brought in for worming as yearlings and 2 year olds. They did this using a gentle system in which one panel slowly swings against another, hemming in each horse. When the horses were rounded up and brought in for the challenge, they were mostly untouched by humans. I am thinking these horses were basically wild (for lack of a better word.) I am sure that many of you either ride ranch-bred horses or breed them yourselves, or have purchased and trained horses that were ranch-raised. Is training a yearling that is ranch raised, with little handling until it is two years old, much different from training an adopted wild mustang? When looking at the finished product, is a horse that is allowed to mature and grow in a herd setting with little human handling potentially a better ranch horse because of his pastured upbringing? Consider the insight you share to be filed in: The Education of Pony Girl, Ranch Edition. The models in this post are two geldings owned by my Cousin K and her daughter, my Cousin J. The sorrel, Okie, is a 5 year old Quarter Horse out of the Oklahoma State University breeding program, by Now Whos Looking and out of OSU Watch Me Slide.
The palomino is a 4 year old Skipper W bred Quarter Horse. Both are very nice horses, with Skyler being the responsive angel boy that little kids can take a spin on, and Okie being the get-up-and go, maybe I'll be a barrel racer kind of boy. They are probably the closest to ranch horses we have in our family. Both of them were started by The Cowboy to be his roping horse. Every time my cousins go to The Cowboy's they come away with one of his horses.
And so the Cowboy loses another roping horse. I think maybe they just keep going back for the Cowboy. I have yet to meet these geldings, but I will this summer when we rendezvous for a horsey camping trip.
My Boy is not a ranch horse. Not even close. On one of our rides through the pastured neighborhood, My Boy took one look at a steer and about did a double take. It is my dream to own a ranch someday. Maybe then, I'll get to ride an honest to goodness ranch horse.
Miss Lucie Grace
1 year ago