With Rey [two-time and reigning PRCA/AQHA Heel Horse of the Year], I just ran into a stroke of luck. Every horse out there works differently—and there are a lot of good horses—but he’s just easy. He’s a bigger, stronger horse than I’m used to. He’s got plenty of speed, doesn’t run by the corner, stops real straight, is easy to dally on and takes a jerk well. It’s hard to train one to be perfect, they have to make it themselves almost.
Our arena has really soft sand, so we let him roll nearly every time after we rope before we wash him off. We have a couple chiropractors and we have him worked on probably every three or four months. I hate to act like a barrel racer, but when you’ve got good horses, you want to do everything possible for them to keep them going.
I don’t have a good back-up horse, so I’ve got to baby the one I’ve got. I like to keep roping on him and keep him in shape, but I try to take it easy on him. I generally don’t rope the hard runners and don’t dally on them just to save his body—he just turned 12.
When you rodeo on them all the time they’re on “go.” So when I’m at home practicing I try to just chill him out and rope the slower steers. I’ll not get too close to the steer and keep my spacing. I usually just kind of ease around there and track over them a few jumps. I usually don’t dally on him at home.
1. We’re just going at a nice slow pace. Riley [Minor, younger brother and header] is roping and holding them up. This practice was the day before we left to go to Las Vegas. I’d been roping a lot on him and throwing really fast practicing for myself. There were just some old, training steers here, so this was a good free-up practice. We were easy on him that last day.
2. At home, I work on my spacing a lot. When Riley turns them fast, Rey is wanting to get in there. He doesn’t necessarily cut the corner, but he’s jumping the gun. So at home I really hold him out until the steer is turned. I don’t want a horse to run by, of course, but you don’t want them cutting in too early, either. I’m trying to get him to go down the arena far enough before he makes his entrance to the corner.
3. This day, we weren’t making rodeo runs. We were making the kind of training runs I wanted to make on him. It looks like I went three or four jumps before I threw on this steer. I’m trying to keep Rey free rolling. He’s not a real cowy horse, so he’s never been short or cheated me. But just from rodeoing on him, he’s started to get to where he wants to stop too soon. At home, I push him around there a few hops before I throw.
4. I do dally on him every once in a while. The biggest reason I don’t is just to save runs on him. They’re hard to replace, so I’m just trying to give him as much longevity as I can and he doesn’t really need it.
5. I didn’t make him stop, I almost made him walk out of it. I roped the steer and just kicked him out of it. If he ever feels like he’s stopping a little too soon and taking my throw away, I’ll rope the steer and keep him going forward. It’s easy to make him stop, so to counter that I try to get him as free-rolling as possible.