Ripped jeans in a Stock Horse of Texas clinic is a ranch riding lesson learned.

It’s super hot. It’s casual. It’s a Stock Horse of Texas novice clinic at the NRS Event Center in Decatur, Texas. I’m in old jeans, a T-shirt and a King Ranch ballcap. The little bay mare and I are working on our horsemanship in ranch trail.

The left hand push gate for the ranch trail is at a barbed wire fence surrounding the cow pasture out back. No prob—the little bay mare and I open and shut gates of all kinds, all the time. We’ve got this.

However, we aren’t always on the same page about steering or leg pressure. Which is why we’re at the clinic. I’m often confusing; and she is often lazy and anticipates what “the silly human” wants.

Stock Horse of Texas Novice Clinic
Editor Christine Hamilton rides her horse, Pixie, at a Stock Horse of Texas novice clinic in Decatur, Texas.

At this gate, she ignores my right leg and hand, and marches through the gap so that my right leg brushes the fence post. “Rriipp,” go my jeans on the barbed wire fence. Oh, good grief.

To our credit, I get her paused, pushed over, do not let go of the gate, and we close it properly and quietly. I ride the rest of the day with a large safety pin holding my lower pants leg together, like a badge reminding me how often pride precedes a fall.

As I lead my mare away, a fellow rider offers some welcome encouragement and laments the loss of a good pair of jeans. He also shakes his head at the dangers of barbed wire.

I thank him. But barbed wire at a cow pasture is just part of ranching, right? It’s one of many reasons why you wear leggings in ranch work. I’m riding a ranch horse, and we were out of position on that gate, and not operating it correctly.

So, lesson learned. The little bay mare and I have more homework to do on the basics of guiding and waiting, which is what a good ranch trail course highlights. And I have a new pair of cut-off jeans shorts.

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