One of the big things that Andora Farm regularly offers is Team Penning practice. Many Friday nights throughout the year local riders are invited in for $15 a run to take a try at penning the cattle. This event just so happened on the Friday night of The Gathering.
So, in addition to all of us there for The Gathering, many more riders trailered in that Friday night to have a go at it. For the purposes of their practice the contest consisted of a group of three riders having 75 seconds to separate and move 3 specific cows out of a herd of 12 into the pen set up in the arena. A couple groups that were there with us tried to their hand at this, but mostly it was the riders that had hauled in for the night and some of them were pretty good. We saw one team pen their cows in 28 seconds.
I particularly enjoyed watching group after group trying to get one clever and tricky white bull into the pen. His number had been called several times throughout the night but he managed to evade “capture” every time except one. The crowd cheered when he finally got put in the pen.
The morning after the official practice The Gathering participants were offered a clinic to learn how to pen a cow. So for the third time in two days, the group headed out across the river, located the herd of cattle and drove them to the arena. Then we had the chance to split the herd, move the cows and try to get them in the pen. It was WAY less structured than the official practice the night before, but it was a nice chance for those that wanted to see what it was like to influence cows to move in a specific way to do so.