Breaking in Fresh Steers with Luke Brown
Roping a fresh steer for the first time is more important than anything. Not to pull him too fast and make sure you get him heeled, come tight and drop him. A lot of people put the head loop on in the chute the first couple of times just to make sure you don’t miss him. Some people just rope them and bump them a little and then turn them back loose. It’s way more fun to just wrap them and go to them. With as many steers as we break in around here, we try to keep it simple and fun, but you have to do it right because the first couple of times are really important.

You want to lead fresh cattle and never pull them. you want to teach them how to be able to take a pull around the corner instead of set back and start fighting. If you hit them too hard or try to pull them too fast, it just teaches them to set back and then they’ll start to drag and they never really handle true. If you train them the first three or four times, you got them forever. 

I’m a little to the left of him and I got ahold of his head. So I’m bringing his head around, but not his whole body. So I’m kind of slowing him down and controlling him. My horse is still going straight, but the steer’s head is turned. I’m slowing him down so there’s no crash corner or hesitating, I’m just knocking the steer off his pace a little bit.

[LISTEN: The Score: Season 2, Episode 21 with Luke Brown]

Lone Wolf Photography

Now the steer is coming around the corner and I’m just easing out to the left of him, leading him around the corner. I’m not hitting him too hard yet and not trying to pull him yet, just trying to let him collect himself up.

[READ MORE: Head Control with Luke Brown]

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Now the steer is completely turned and I’ve got him under control so I want to go ahead and step out in front of him just enough to straighten him up faster, but still not turn my horse loose so he’s running off with him. I just keep the steer under control, but now that he’s turned with me, I can let my horse start to go straight across the arena. The steer’s taking a big hop, he’s more worried about what’s on his head than being wild. He’s feeling that tug on his head, my loop and my horse more than he is wanting to set back. If I would have hit him real hard there, you’d see his head up, fighting it, versus this, where his head is down and he’s hopping good.

[READ MORE: Twelfth Time’s the Charm: Brown Prepares to Head at His Twelfth Straight NFR]

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About the second or third hop and Martin (Lucero) is coming in to heel him. The steer’s feet are together and I’ve got full control over him. All I’ve got to do is keep control over his head a little bit and let him hop around there on his own. I’m not pulling him, I’m just holding him in place and letting him do it himself. The heeler needs to stay away from the steer, give himself plenty of room. Heelers also need to rope with a good header that will hold them up and not run off with them or crash them in the corner so the heeler can stay off of them and then go to them when they do clean up.

Lone Wolf Photography
Lone Wolf Photography

It’s really hard to break in fresh steers with a horse that’s not real broke. You have to keep moving around the whole time. If the steer does want to fight you in the corner, you need to stop right then, let him make the next move and then ask him to come on. It’s kind of hard to get on an old rodeo horse or something that goes through the motions to do this. you have to have the right horse for it.

[READ MORE: Riding Your Horse Out of the Box with Luke Brown]

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