Archive for the ‘team roping’ Category

Hi folks… welcome to my blog, and I have some interesting news for you!

I just returned from the American Cowboy’s Team Roping Association’s (ACTRA) National Finals in Reno, Nevada, in which I competed and I placed 2nd in one of the rounds, which was my claim to fame. I saw a lot of very interesting people there, there is a spot for everybody to rope. They have a number system that allows everyone to compete on level footing and that’s a plus! ACTRA pulls a lot of people that are not originally horse people, and certainly not big-time ropers, but they practice hard, and they seem to buy some sort of a resemblance to a rope horse, actually a few of them are nice horses.
There are as many as 1250 – 1300 teams that actually rope in one day in one particular roping class. That’s a lot of players, so this is a real important part of our western industry. I totally enjoyed myself, I had a lot of fun, I met a lot really, really interesting people from all types of businesses and walks of life. I saw people that I haven’t seen for many, many years, I wondered where they had been, and they showed up with a rope in their hand, and some of them roped darn good too. I think everybody there had a great time, it was really well-organized, and I never waited in line. When you run that many horses and people through an event and you don’t have any wrecks, I have to compliment Mike Sweeney and the guys, like Clyde Sanders and Jim Waggoner and all the guys from the ACTRA club that put this together.

The thing I noticed a lot of was unbroke horses; some of them go out there in a pattern, that is they’re patterned to go in a position so the rider can rope. But if a steer happens to move irregularly, they’re dead meat because they don’t have broke horses and certainly a good part of them don’t have any mouth on them. I felt like I wanted to help everybody all the time – of course I didn’t and couldn’t. Our Five Easy Pieces program that I teach in Cowhorse U and I also in the single DVD we sell, proved itself to be totally invaluable at this roping finals.

As I unloaded, I know that horses sometimes get a little hopped up on you in altitude, and coming from sea level to 5,000 feet, the horse that I took was amped up more than I’ve ever seen her before! I just started galloping and this mare didn’t even want to gallop right, and I’m thinking I’m probably going to have a little trouble here, don’t know what to do about it, but I need to resolve it somehow. So I thought well gosh Les, you teach people what to do when these sort of things happen, why don’t you do it yourself! So that’s what I did! I stopped and went off by myself where nobody was around and started working this mare on the Five Easy Pieces. I started working her in circles, doing flexions, bending her and walking her to the left until she softened and her neck got soft, bend her around, and then the to the right. I did everything both ways, then I worked her shoulders and then I worked the rib cage, the whole horse, made the hip come up to the eye. As I went along, folks, I found a lot of broken pieces. I found a lot of connections that didn’t exist that this mare needed to have fixed in order to perform. Well I got to thinking; I don’t usually maintain her like I should. I kind of been taking her for granted. There’s certain things that she did when I was roping on her at home everyday that I was trying to fix as they were happening, that is, within the maneuver. Duh… I teach, you don’t fix things in the maneuver, you fix the problem. You go back to the fundamentals and you fix the reason that you have a problem. So the light bulb came on, or as they say in Australia, the penny dropped!
Well, as I went through this mare’s body looking for irregularities or non-connections as far as her body control went I found a lot of leaks and problems! As I searched from the front of the horse to the back, I addressed each one and I worked my way through it, one side of the horse then the other. I worked on it for 45 minutes or an hour, and then I went off and galloped her. Boy, she galloped better than she had in a long, long time. Just the way she moved, she was soft, stayed in the bridle, neck down, Relaxed! So I did the whole process again, still not perfect, but much better, she was operable, I could put her body where I wanted to, when I wanted to, but with a little more effort than I really wanted to use doing it.

Then it comes time to go roping. Well, I backed that mare in a box, and usually in the box she doesn’t do anything bad, but she kind of turns to stone, she’s tense in the box. That mare was mellow as she could be. She was perfect, lots of time she turns her head away from the chute, I don’t like that much, but it’s hard to get her to look back toward the chute. But oh my gosh! That day she was just perfect, she couldn’t have been any better. A rodeo roper would have loved her. She ran the cattle, she was just perfect on the corners and I had people come up to me and say boy that mare sure stops hard, nobody has ever said that before, but of course Les Vogt wasn’t doing what he teaches, I wasn’t practicing what I preach! However, I was so thrilled that the program that we use on our performance horses, mostly on reined cow horses and reiners and all different kinds of horses, was just as valuable for a roper! I just hadn’t really experienced the value of it in a high level competition mode, but I have now. So, for what it’s worth, and it’s worth a lot. Hey folks, this stuff works really good! I’m impressed with my own program, and that’s fun! It sure keeps things from being boring around here! We had nothing but fun at the ACTRA Finals, it was a great contest!

I’m getting ready for my one and only clinic this fall, in Ada, Oklahoma, November 20-22, so I’m kind of on vacation, I’m playing! So this week in Paso Robles, California, there is a cutting horse contest, there I will go to and I will study cattle. I am going to visit some of my friends who are expert cutters, and as they bring in fresh cattle, while they are settling the herd, I’m going to get with these people and learn what I can to pick the good cattle and ear mark the bad cattle in your mind, to make a list of them and then try to remember the list so I can watch those cattle get cut by the cutters, see if I’m right or wrong. In today’s herd work or cutting horse world that determines the outcome in many cases as to what your destiny is going to be as a cutter. So I guess I better learn it. So I’ll spend some time in Paso Robles at the cutting. And this weekend we are having a roping horse sale too so if anybody sees me raise my hand there, please hold it down, because I don’t need to buy any more horses.
After that we go into the month of November, which is the following week, we have the PBR – Professional Bull Riders Finals, that’s in Las Vegas, not sure if I get to go, but sure going to try and do everything of course.

Then there is another cutting in Bakersfield, California, it’s a just a regional club cutting, but I think I will take Turbo to it and see if what I learned at Paso Robles is going to work. They have a ranch horse cutting, I need to season my horse a little more, and get sharper as far as the herd work goes. That’s going to be another good practice session, and that will be on November 7. Then on November 14-15 we have our Vaquero Show, where everybody brings old time bits and chaps, spurs, riatas and all the old guys sit around a little fire and talk about how good it used to be in the old days. It’s nice because you get to see a lot of people, it’s very traditional, it’s in Santa Ynez and it’s very, very interesting.
Then of course November 20-22, I go to Ada, Oklahoma, and then comes the highlight. For Thanksgiving I think I will visit some friends in Fallon, Nevada, then the day after I’m going to see Cheech & Chong in Reno, Nevada! Oh boy! Never have!

Anyway, life is good!

Thanks for reading…..


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Hello everybody,

Cow horse students in SwedenI am fresh home from my latest adventure, which was nine or ten days in Sweden. I had two three-day clinics there, all targeted towards training the cow horse. They only took ten horses for each clinic so that kept the numbers down. The people were thirsty for knowledge, and they learned a lot. It’s especially fun to go to a country that has really no experience with the working cow horse, or at least very little, and explain traditions and customs, the different styles of creating a working cow horse, and to set standards that they will hopefully uphold forever. They actually save many, many years of mistakes by learning about the refinement of standards while the cow horse sport is young! As always, it was fun to visit with lots of old friends, as I was there last year too!

Of course, many thanks to my wonderful friend, Hakan Bergh and Per Larsson, that put on the clinic. It was at Per Larsson’s ranch, where we had the clinic. We had a beautiful indoor arena, good dirt, and Holstein cattle – actually, they worked pretty well for this bunch of riders! They learned an awful lot about positioning, balancing a cow, position on a cow, rate with a cow, and how to succeed in putting a cow horse on a cow properly.

Horse trailer in SwedenThere were two or three people in the clinic actually riding their horse with a two rein bosal along with their regular bit, in order to help to bridle their horse better. It’s really nice to see people interested and maintaining the traditional standards of perfection and durability that approach can help to create. (more…)

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Well hello folks. It’s nice to be talking to you again; it’s actually nice to be home even though it’s only for about three whole days! I’ll fill you in as to what I‘ve been doing and who I’ve been doing it with. I’ve had some really fun times lately.

I went to Arlington, Washington, and did a three day clinic for Gretchen Salstrom at Black Raven Stables. We had a lot of cows, cow horses, cowboys and cowgirls. I had a wonderful time working with people that were very hungry for knowledge and everybody got a lot out of it. I was very impressed to have some of my old students back again, some that had been to my clinic as many as six times! I had one person stop by and he strangely enough had been to fifteen clinics! He was quite an individual. He brought two horses to one of the Washington clinics about ten years ago. Both horses, I told him, were basically a waste of time to make show horses out of.  He, being as hard-headed as he is, decided he would show me just to spite me and make these horses into show horses. After he showed up to about a dozen clinics, I began to see where he was coming from, because lo and behold, he amazed me. My own methods, my own theories, my own program actually amazed me also, that it really did work on these horses I considered substandard. He’d gotten these horses really soft and really happy. Their whole demeanor changed and believe me they did perform well. He came by to visit and say hi. I was happy to see him too. (more…)

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