Analyzing the Horse
If all of a sudden Colonel (Long’s three-time PRCA/AQHA Horse of the Year) starts to consistently make mistakes or be off in his performance, the easiest thing to do is to get frustrated. But it’s important to take the emotion out of it, because if something were bothering me and I tried to play basketball, my performance would also be off.
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The first step is to go to your vet to troubleshoot anything that may be wrong structurally—maybe something needs to be injected or something needs addressed. You don’t want it to be a soundness issue, but it’s the easiest thing. You get that taken care of that way.
If they’re still doing the wrong thing, you better look at your equipment. Make sure your equipment is fitting right. Make sure your pad is still good. Make sure your boots aren’t rubbing them and you haven’t noticed, or make sure there’s not mud caked in it. Maybe you need a better bit—something to give them a new feel with a little more bite.
Once you address that, get back on your horse and behind your Heel-O-Matic or slow steers. Use your resources—like this magazine or teamropingjournal.com—to find hundreds of drills to sharpen your horse up. Stay slow until you’ve got your problem solved.