Heading, from a Heeler’s Point of View with Clint Summers
Seeing the run from a heeler's perspective makes understanding the handle a whole lot easier.

I heeled most of my life. Now, as a header, I truly think my heeling helped me better understand the way a run needs to take shape. When I handle a steer poorly now, I immediately imagine what my heeler is seeing back there. So, as I’m running to a steer on the head side, I am visualizing how to rope it and set it up so my heeler just has to place his loop in front of the feet. 

Point 1 with Clint Summers. | Jamie Arviso Photo

In these pictures, I’m roping the steer and my horse, Ransom, is free enough and easy enough that I can do anything I want to do. I can keep everything moving and in control, and my heeler can ride all the way around so there’s no hesitation in the corner or throughout the run. That means I can set the steer up to heel him as fast as possible. 

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Point 2 with Clint Summers. | Jamie Arviso Photo

When I get the steer’s head, I’ve got momentum. I like to let my momentum pull me and the steer, and I can bring his head back a little bit. If the steer’s butt is a little away from the heeler just a touch, he can see him better. If you can bring the steer back at a slight angle, where your heeler can see him, it sets your heeler up to heel faster.

READ: Heeler Spacing Down the Arena with Clint Summers

Point 3 with Clint Summers. | Jamie Arviso Photo

After I’ve brought my horse back a little bit, I want to accelerate and open the steer up. I want to push my horse out and speed up just a hair and encourage the steer to hop better and leave the hole.

READ: Stopping A Slump with Clint Summers

Point 4 with Clint Summers. | Jamie Arviso Photo

I am not necessarily just watching the steer. I’m watching my partner to see how he’s coming in. I pay attention to his rope and the timing of the steer’s feet, so I can slow up or move on if I need to. I want to know his position and his timing coming in so I can react to what I need to do. 

Point 5 with Clint Summers. | Jamie Arviso Photo

I want to keep everything moving and not face too early. If my heeler is still holding his slack, that’s too early. I want to go all the way to the end and then ask my horses to face. My horses face really well—something Trevor (Brazile) puts in each of them—so I can have the confidence to do that. 

LISTEN: The Score Season 1, Episode 17 with Clint Summers

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