Polish up four skills to fit in at—and earn an invite back to—a cattle muster.
The word “muster” means to collect or assemble. We can muster a wide range of both intangible and perceptible things: from courage, willpower and strength to military troops, votes, cattle and even peacocks. The term, however, is most commonly used in Australia when referring to gathering cattle.
Successful cattle mustering requires competency in a few essential skills: gait control, steering, stopping and mental focus. If partaking in a cattle muster with friends or acquaintances is on your riding bucket list, use my checklist of must-haves to ensure both you and your horse have the necessary skills to safely and effectively gather cattle—and to boost your chances of getting invited back.
Gait control simply means your horse willingly and promptly responds to your cues for a specific gait. A horse with good gait control also reacts to his rider’s more subtle cues to maintain a particular speed within any given gait. For example, you might be in a situation requiring a fast lope; once you’ve cued your horse to pick up his pace, he should maintain that faster gait until you indicate otherwise. Additionally, your horse should maintain that pace on a loose or relatively loose rein.
This is an excerpt from the full article—get the whole story in the Spring 2020 Chrome magazine, which is sent to all current APHA members. Not a member? Join or renew at apha.com/join