Friday, February 11, 2011
Why? Because I could! Kimberly, a friend of mine, has been training her two steers for quite some time now. Her business is called "Howdy Moo to You" and they've been in parades and have entertained at parties and schools. Recently I ran into her (and the "Moo Boys") at an event and told her I'd love to ride one of them. The older one, Dozer can be ridden, while the younger one, Jazzy is still in training. So a few days ago, we met out at Traylor Ranch (where easy riding trails abound) and had a great time.
Dozer is an Irish Dexter steer and at 3-years-old is full grown. He's a very nice boy and didn't give us any trouble. He ambled along the trails at Traylor as we took turns riding him. Kimberly worked Jazzy (a longhorn) from the ground with long lines - he's still young and needs some more work before he can be reliably ridden. Jazzy came from Premier Longhorns - a company who specializes in riding steers.
Check out the videos of me aboard Dozer:
We decided that riding a steer is like riding a draft horse with pony legs. The gait is short, but not as choppy as we expected. Dozer only walked though, so I imagine a trot would be a bit rough. It was quite relaxing and slow-paced. Both steers were very calm and nothing seemed to fluster them - unlike horses! A noisy truck/transfer rig pulled into the parking lot just as I was starting to ride Dozer and it didn't phase him; many horses would have been spooked by that. It was also pretty windy - something that can get horses a little hyped up - but the steers couldn't have cared less.
Dozer is a little sluggish in responding to cues (the same ones you'd use on a horse - leg & rein) but I suspect that as he gets more miles under saddle, he'll be snappier. It was certainly a unique opportunity and I'm looking forward to doing it again. My friend Rachel & I are also planning to help Kimberly start riding Jazzy.