Ask the Pros–A Better Stop

Dear Clay,
I heel of off a 16-year-old mare who dives into corners real well and puts you where you want to be for a good heel shot. My main problem with her is that when I ask her to stop quick, she bounces up and down on her front end. I was told she has always done this, and I was wondering if there were some suggestions as to how to control this. I try not to hit her mouth too hard on a stop, but in the heat of the moment it’s hard not to. I use a chain bit because that’s what she’s always been in.

Thanks for your help,
Royce, Newton, Kansas

Dear Royce,
The way a horse stops is an important factor on a heeling horse. If a horse tends to bounce in the stop, it’s going to affect your loop, your delivery and could affect your dally. If it’s to the point where it messes you up on the delivery or the dally, then you should consider getting something different. I’ve had some horses like that myself that came in and gave you a perfect shot to that point and then hit on their front end too hard and it would mess my loop up and wouldn’t allow me to deliver a nice loop like I was wanting to and I had to find something else. Other than trying some different bridles or working to get the horse stopping more smoothly without a steer in front of her, that’s the only thing I can suggest.

Clay O’Brien Cooper

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