Back 2 Basics with Krista Wade –0
Become a better Horseman and Shave Seconds off your time with these Top 10 Tips!
#1 Treat your horse like a horse first and a team roping horse second – So many times I find that people only work on their horses discipline and not on the horse itself. A horse is a horse first. He needs to be respectful, quiet, confident, and controlled before he can ever go do a job. Make sure you have a well-balanced horse in and out of the pen first and this will catapult you in your event and put you leaps and bounds ahead of the competition if you think of how respectful and responsive your horse has been that day first and not necessarily how many runs your horse has had that day.
#2 Get control of your horses Hindquarters – the Hindquarters are the driving force of the horse. If we don’t have control of that part of our horse’s body nothing else will come together. We need to make sure with the slightest press of our leg back by the back cinch we can get that horse to disengage their hindquarters left and right. This will better our positioning of our horse in the box, help them catch their leads, and help us position when coming around the corner and turn and face.
#3 Ride on our pockets – This is HUGE!! 90% of the horsemen out there ride with their shoulders and upper body and they don’t stay in the saddle back on the pockets of their jeans and ride with their hips and legs. A horse balances and pushes from their hind end – we need to do the same! If we get forward up out of the saddle and push with our shoulders to encourage our horses to go and get into position that is exactly where our horse is going to go – straight on their frontend/shoulders. This is NOT what we want. We want that horse balanced and driving on their hind end – and I need to mimic that to help my horse. ALWAYS think get my pockets of my jeans under me. If you keep your pockets of your jeans under and in the saddle you will never get up on that horses shoulder and out of position. Drive with your Hips so the Horse can drive with their Hips!
#4 Control Those Shoulders – In order to have a good steering wheel on our horses we have to have control of the shoulders of the horse. We need to make sure we can pick that horse up and move those front feet left and right at any moment! That way if that steer jumps left or right we are right there stride for stride. Practice exercises like Counter Arcs (their nose is bend the opposite way their shoulders are moving), Spins (getting the horse to sit on their hind end and elevate their shoulders and move off of our leg respectfully), and Half-Pass (Moving our horse’s shoulders at a diagonal across the pen). If I can’t do these three things at a walk and stand still, there is no way I will be able to move my horse off to the left or right at the Gallop! So, it is Important in everything we do to have control of that steering wheel!
#5 Over exaggerate in your Dry Work – I hear so many people say “Krista I don’t want my rope horses to Rollback like a cutting horse in a run”. Rollbacks and some exercises I work on are not about the exercise itself. It is making sure when the money is on the line I know I have that horse responsive to my cues and hooked in to what I need it to do! When you are practicing at home and working on dry work away from the box you need to make sure you exaggerate to teach. When the money is on the line and the adrenaline and speed is up we will lose 60% of the fine tuning we worked on at home. I want to over exaggerate softness, shoulder control, hip control, stopping, backing, etc. at home so that way when I back in the box I will have 40% of what I worked on when I go to compete. If you only expect and train for 70% of perfect at home when you get to the pen you will only have 10% of what you worked on at home tuned in. That is not very good odds! So, even if I don’t really want my horse to move his shoulder THAT Extreme, I don’t want him to Back up THAT far in an actual run, I will over exaggerate at home so that way when I get out there I know my horse is willing and respectful of every cue.
Stay tuned for 5 more tips tomorrow. KW
Sign up for one of my upcoming clinics at the NRS Training Center:
Advanced Horsemanship – July 24-28
Back to the Basics – Aug 8-10
Colt Starting – Nov 20-24