In our first photo series, you saw Nola and Rachel teaching a 3 year old QH gelding to be shot off of. In this next series of photos, we will show his progress. Our eventual goal is to get Bo comfortable running a pattern while his rider shoots balloons.
The first two photos demons trate Nola simply getting Bo used to seeing the balloons. The bobbing movement of balloons can sometimes be disconcerting to some horses, so Nola blows them up and walks around placing them in their holders while leading Bo. We also let horses sniff them if they show an interest to do so. Basically, we do not make a big production out of the balloons as we want the horse to accept them as an every day part of their training.
Once we have the balloons set up and the horses ear plugs in place, we will fire off a few rounds to prepare the horse to be fired off of.
After leading the horse past the balloons while firing, Nola halts Bo with a balloon off his near side and in his view. Reaching out- Nola fires at and shoots the balloon.
As you can see from the photos, Bo does not give much of a reaction to the gunfire or the popping of the balloon. His feet did not move, his only reaction is a slight raising of his head. This is the response we have worked towards.
Now it’s time to mount up and ride Bo past the balloons and get him focusing on working a pattern around them. For this stage, we just ride in and out of the balloons, occasionally firing the 45. This is enough for one session.
Now that we know that Bo is comfortable working around the balloons and that he is relaxed about the gunfire and smoke, it is time to kick his performance up a notch and really put him to work.
In these photos, you will see Nola taking Bo in and out of the balloons, shooting on both sides while maneuvering Bo at the canter. As his training progresses, we will be able to ride the patterns faster and with tighter turns, in preparation for a future of competing in Cowboy Mounted Action Shooting.
As stated in our previous article, please keep in mind while reading this that while we have been quite descriptive in the different stages involved, this can be very dangerous if you are not extremely careful and knowledgeable about handguns and horses.