On average, it takes three to four years for a horse to go from green broke to a full-fledged, competition ready rope horse. The first year is spent primarily on the basics: right turn, left turn, walk, trot, lope, stop and reverse, preferrably on rider's command rather than the horse's whim. And, of course, the all important NOT BUCKING.
Since this horse is just starting the whole process, I thought it might be cool to post videos along the way, showing the steps and her progress.
(Warning: I have no idea how I managed to make the video repeat itself, or stick another clip in the middle. That's my dad on Scotchman, who is about a year away from being 'finished'. You'll notice he gets left in the dust, because he wasn't aggressive enough running out of the roping box. Then there's a repeat of Shy's video, except without the voiceover. No idea how it happened, go ahead and check out when you get to that point if you want.)
Part of the next three or four years will be spent just growing up--physically and mentally maturing. A lot of it will be spent doing ranch work because doing real work keeps them settled and makes them smarter. There will be stretches of two to six months when she's turned out to pasture because they need an off season so they don't get stale and soured on the whole process. Eventually though, she'll be rodeo ready, like the horse in the next video.
Normally, I wouldn't be showing you any video of myself missing a calf, but I only had my sister's video camera for one afternoon and this was the best shot of Julie in action. And in my defense, it did go around his neck and somehow I managed to wave it off again before I got all the slack out of the loop, so I figure that's even more impressive 'cuz it's not something I could do again even if I tried.
Now we've got to head out. Shy is going for her very first pasture ride, out to gather the next bunch of 'heavies'. Here's hoping we don't get any exciting video out of the trip.
*Addendum: Shy was a very well-behaved young lady on her first big cattle moving adventure.