Dave Seay Progressive Horsemanship
Moonlight Ride

Waiting for Nothing

There's a herd of cows just on the other side of the fence from one of my favorite trails to ride along. You can just see them through the trees, you can usually hear them, and you can certainly always smell them. I’ve been breezing through this area on horseback for a few years now and have only just recently started taking interest in the critters over the fence, and as such, so has my horse.


This particular horse has never been face to face with a cow before, and my imagination had started getting the best of me on what he “could” do when making the introduction. I don’t know why, but it seems my mind sometimes likes to go down that dreaded path of worst-case scenario rather than envisioning a positive outcome, even though the positive is usually the more likely result. Regardless, I wanted to finally squash any negative ideas and take my horse over to the fence to check out the cows up close and personal.


The perfect opportunity arose the other day while out riding with Dave Seay and his long-time apprentice Carley. Dave was on his primary riding horse Loree, and Carley on her horse Rummy with whom she’s participated in many cow-working clinics, once even while 7-months pregnant! How a wannabe horsewoman like myself got so lucky as to have these two as my riding partners is beyond me, but I sure am thankful.


I hadn’t planned to meet the cows on this day, but it just so happens that Dave decided to stop for a chat right about where you could veer off the trail and go meet them. Chat breaks are common and much appreciated when riding with Dave as he likes to check-in if nothing’s been said for a while, or to finish up a conversation that may be taking place while in transit and relayed between riders from whoever’s behind him to whoever’s last, usually me.


After catching up with the horses and catching up with the conversation, I mentioned to Dave that I’d like to go meet the cows. “Come on”, he said as he started to make his way through the tangles of vines and downed logs covering the ground. As we got closer to the herd I could feel the flow of blood and beating of my horses’ heart. He didn’t quite have that flighty unpredictable ‘I need to get out of here now’ kind of feeling, he actually felt pretty steady, but very alert. I rubbed his neck and verbally reminded him of what a brave smart guy he is. He concurred.


Some of the cows did us a favor by walking away as we approached, but a large group stayed standing and laying down in the shade just as they were, mommas and babies staring back at us like ‘what are you looking at?’. We stood for about 20-seconds, my horse let out a big snort then totally relaxed and started nosing around for left-over acorns. Once again Dave said, “Come on”, and started to walk away. “That’s it?” I said.


It’s funny how some of the greatest realizations can take place in such a brief moment of time and with so little said. Earlier in the day Dave and I had been talking about what to do to help your horse when something may be worrying him, and sometimes the answer is simply nothing. An entire book could probably be written on the concept of nothing in horsemanship, and as Dave likes to say, horses generally want nothing to happen. In our case with the cows, nothing happened, which is what we wanted to have happen. Good enough for me!




© Dave Seay Progressive Horsemanship.