The morning of Saturday, Apr. 16, started as a white winter for many in Barriere and area; but fortunately the snow melted quickly, and the turn out for the ‘Introduction to Cattle Sorting Clinic’ was great.
There were 14 participants who signed up for the clinic, from teens to adults, with a good mix of guys and gals.
Almost everyone that signed up had never seen the live action sport of cattle sorting. The participating rider skill level was a wide range of new riders and seasoned veteran trail riders and ropers. The equine participants included ‘green’ [inexperienced] horses and wise old sages that had seen it all.
The clinic, held at the fall fairgrounds in Barriere, was well facilitated by instructors Nicole Sigouin and Ryan Conan. They stressed the importance of a horse and rider practicing with ‘dry work’ before actually working with cattle. They also emphasized the importanace of ‘shaping’ your horse, getting a good stop and moving forward.
They then instructed on the cattle work, how to read what the animal’s next move would be and how to move it by focusing on three parts of the cow, hind, hip, and head.
Of course the highlight of the day was when all participants were finally able to put their coaching to the test on actually sorting the cattle.
Like most rodeo events, cattle sorting originated from regular ranch work. Sorting through pens of cattle, matching cows and calves together, or separating steers and heifers; it was all part of the routine on a ranch.
Cattle Sorting is based on good horsemanship skills and the ability to read cattle and know how to move them efficiently to where you want them to go.
For today’s competitive events there are two round pens set up with an opening in the center where the pens are joined. The cattle are numbered 0-9. Two riders start at that gate when the announcer calls a number. The riders work together, moving the cattle to the other pen in numeric sequence.
The event is lots of fun and a sport that riders of all ages can enjoy.
As with any sport, lots of practice and learning skills such as shaping your horse and getting a good stop are important skills to help riders excel in this event.
Those who attended appreciated the support of: Barriere AG Foods, Barriere Country Feeds, Kamloops Large Animal Veterinary Clinic, Lamlee’s, and The Horse Barn.
If you would like more information on upcoming sorting events contact Brian and Joanne Watt at 250-672-5841 or go their web site at www.91ranch.com/penningsorting/