Logan Olson has been working on improving his head horse’s footwork. Here’s how.
Finding Foot Speed
From a young age, I want to start picking up my horse’s feet and placing them faster throughout a run. To do that, I have been trying to prepare them more as I’m breaking them, so, as I transition into the timed events, their feet are ready to do it and I’m not pulling on their heads making them do something they’re not ready to do.
I want to be able to make all the maneuvers I’d need to make behind an unpredictable steer, while I’m just riding around in an empty arena or in the pasture. I’ll make sure I can speed them up to a run, collect them back up, sidepass and arch each way. I want to be able to do everything with as little force and effort as possible so that, when we’re behind a live steer, it’s easy for the horse.
To find those fundamentals in each horse, I do what I call “drunken riding”—minus the alcohol—and it can look God-awful at first glance. I’ll run down the arena one way, pick my horse up, slow up, take off again, lope a tight circle one way and lope a tight circle the other way. The key is to change speeds a lot, getting my horse to pay attention to my hands and my feet. At first, they’re all over the place. They won’t know how to run or how to slow down. But after a while, they’ll figure out that everything is easier the closer they pay attention to precise cues. The best horses I’ve ever made spent a lot of time working cows, but when you don’t have cows at home to work, this is a decent substitute. By constantly changing speeds and directions in the arena, it’s as if you’re doing a job like you would be in the pasture. So you’re not concerned with how your horse is doing, and it doesn’t take long before they really get with you because you have to do your job no matter what.
[Be Prepared on Your Next Horse]
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