Scratch at his first sorting
This much we know: It's good to do something with your horse. Every trainer will tell you that a horse with a job to do is a better horse.
I've been labeled a "careful spender" by many of the people who know me. I can't deny that it's an accurate assessment. Sorting competitions are usually two runs. Each run is 90 seconds. They costs $25-$30 per man. That's three minutes of cow work that you have to split with a partner. Ten dollars a minute seems a bit steep to me.
Now, the cows are expensive and the organizers have to make their money. To draw enough riders there has to be prize money. Yes, I should be good enough to place in the money occasionally, but I haven't.
To top it off, those two runs are usually spread over 2-3 hours. Of course, we'll spend some of that time warming up. We'll also spend most of it sitting on the backs of our horses talking and watching the other teams. So, my question is, is it really work or more of an opportunity to socialize?
We've done sorting at the ranch - in real-life conditions - and it was quite different for the competition. The pace was much slower. The cows were fresh. You got to work your horse and work on your horsemanship. The competition is simply balls-out-go-as-fast-as-you-can. I wonder if the horse learns anything from this.
I'm not sure if I'm being cheap, non-competitive, or avoiding socializing with other horse people. Plus, when I compete in something, I like to practice. How do you practice sorting unless you own cows? In competitions? That might take me quite awhile and a lot of money to get any good at it.
What do you think?