Horse & Rider
Flag Work Fundamentals
Working a flag is a great way to simulate cow work without having to use live cattle. Brad Barkemeyer shows you how you can safely introduce your horse to working a flag to help him become more confident working cattle.
Using a flag is an important part of any training program and allows you to work on your horse’s movement and form without having to put him on a live cow every time. With the help of a flag, you can work on developing a consistent, repetitious pattern for your horse while controlling the speed at which he travels. A flag can also help address any weak spots he might have prior to doing any cow work.
Flag work can be a useful tool even if you don’t necessarily work cattle with your horse, as it teaches him to listen for your cues. However, it’s important to properly introduce him to it so he doesn’t become afraid of the flag.
Give Yourself Distance
When you approach the flag for the first time, let your horse have some distance from it so that when it begins to move it doesn’t startle him too much. Face the flag and move it with your remote. Don’t worry too much about moving him yet, just let him stand still and observe what’s happening. If your horse feels nervous and doesn’t want to stand still, you can move parallel to the flag rather than trying to force him to stand still.
His reaction to the flag will dictate what you do next. If he’s curious about it, but not scared, you can start to work the flag from a distance.