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This article appeared in the April, 2011 issue of Western
It appears here courtesy of
Western Horseman magazine.
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Tired of hearing, “Stop leaning?”
Get in line!
Try this: First, let the cow (or flag) move;
Second, feel your horse start to move with the cow (or flag), THEN THIRD
(Now its your time), make your adjustment to the cow's movement.
1st Cow, 2nd Horse, 3rd YOU. Stay in line, do not cut line in front
of your horse!
Trouble cutting a cow??
Try this, get all the way behind the cow you want to cut. Aim toward
the cow's shoulder nearest to you. Push on the shoulder, if you can not
get the cow to move up top, choose a different cow. When the cow you
want moves near the top of the herd (opposite the back fence and nearer
the judges stand) change your target to the neck of the cow. When you
are ready to stop the cow, slide your target forward to the eye of the
Why does my horse come untrained so
Cutting is a contest that requires your horse to hold his ground against
the pressure of the cow. Because horses are animals of flight and
naturally yield to pressure, any mistake you make while working or
showing them weakens their resolve to hold pressure against the cow
You Must Disappear
When I see a great cutting run, I don’t even notice the rider. As a
matter of fact, when I do notice the rider during a run, it always means
that a mistake has been made. If a rider is almost unseated, the horse
probably stopped on its front end. If a rider is leaning, the horse
probably turned around late. If the rider is leaning forward going
across the pen, the horse is probably trailing the cow.
Disappear by sitting down with your back relaxed and your chin above the
saddle horn. Allow your horse to take you across the arena and stop the
cow. Do not move your body with the cow. Let your horse move you. Ref.
Teaching Tip #1 “Stop Leaning.”
Go – Stop
To Go forward, grip your horse with the calves of your legs.
If he does not respond, roll your spurs against his sides (do not kick
To Stop, relax the calves of your legs releasing the pressure
against your horses sides. If he does not stop, pull on the bridle reins
(do not jerk the reins).