The Horseman’s Guide to Tack and Equipment
Form, Fit and Function
This Web excerpt addresses saddle fit for the horse. See the July issue of Western Horseman magazine for The Horseman’s Guide to Tack and Equipment excerpt about fitting the saddle to the rider.
Scarecrows vs. Scaresheep
Sometimes birds can be a nuisance. I don’t care if they’re blackbirds, pigeons, seagulls, starlings or guinea hens.
Starlings have always been a problem for feedlots. They eat a lot of grain, besides desecrating the feed bunks. One particular afternoon when I was having visions of Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds, I sent one of the feedlot hands to town to get some replicas of owls. I had read that decoy owls would scare off birds. I left that afternoon before he returned.
The next morning I got a call on the two-way from the boss. He was in a fowl mood (sorry). “What the *(#%@ do ya think this is? Halloween? Do ya think the EPA and the Audubon Society would approve? Are they waterproof? Packing guns? Where did you go to school again?”
Gambling on the Future
With racehorse welfare making national headlines, the horse industry is being scrutinized for putting money before the well-being of young animals. Racetrack injuries and deaths may have sparked mainstream interest in the issue, but high-stakes stock horse futurities beg the same question: ARE YOUNG HORSES PUSHED TOO HARD, TOO SOON?
Horses Handle It Best
A collection of respected ranchers, horsemen, stockmen and industry experts lists 12 reasons why horses remain the best tools for gathering and working cattle.
It almost seems too obvious to mention. Using horses, many ranchers explain, is still the best method for gathering and working cattle. Modern cowboys can roll out a list of reasons that reach beyond personal enjoyment, keeping with past traditions, or justifying some saddle-bound buckaroo image.
The old-time trail drovers, such as Andy Adams and Charles Goodnight, described at length how they rounded up wild cattle and pointed them northward across turbulent rivers, dry prairies and hostile Indian territory. But in researching their writings, it isn’t easy to find arguments for why horses were the best way to handle cattle. In those days, horses were the only vehicles designed for the task. It was simply too obvious to require explanation.
Story by Kyle Partain
Photograph by Sharon Fibelkorn
Despite the fact she’s 22 years old, Sunset still runs faster than rider Tom Wilson can fire his gun in mounted-shooting competitions. The two have never set the mounted-shooting world on fire, but that hasn’t stopped them from having fun in the sport.
There were 29 horses and riders who took part in the first Cowboy Mounted Shooting Association World Championships in 1994. Tycoons Sunset, was just 7 years old at the time and was competing in her first competitive event.
Fifteen years later, Sunset has reached a ripe old age of 22, and is still carrying Tom Wilson into the arena at mounted shooting matches along the West Coast. Wilson is 69, so the pair would definitely qualify as the oldest horse-rider tandem at just about any match they attend. Make no mistake; Tom and Sunset haven’t exactly set the mounted-shooting world on fire with their accomplishments. The pair is mostly in it to have a good time and hang out with old friends.