When I first started roping and competing, I was young and my horses were hard-mouthed. I held on with a death grip, tried to hold them off, then, at the last second, I’d turn them loose and start swinging over the steer’s back and try to heel him. I didn’t know much about horsemanship, even after going to a couple of National Finals and having some success. I’d won the BFI, the Chowchilla Stampede (in Calif.) and made the Finals, and I still didn’t know much about controlling or positioning my horse. The first guy I ever saw flexing his horse to keep his shoulder up and keep him from cutting the corner was Mike Beers. At the time, he was getting faster shots than anybody because he was setting up his shots faster. It was due to his ability to set up on the outside of the steer and keep his horse’s nose to the inside and in a flexed position that kept his horse’s left shoulder up so he didn’t cut in and cover up that first-hop shot. It resulted in a quicker shot and an easy, quick shot. I started studying how Mike was doing that, and that’s when I first started learning to flex my horse’s nose around to the left, making him give me his nose and using my left foot to bend his ribcage. It was the first time I started working on having my horses broke in my hand and in a turning position. I learned how to control how they turned into the steer, so I could pinpoint my entry.
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