Get Your Heel Horse Peddling on the Front End with Steve Orth

The Spook Dun Time Heel Horse ARHFA Steve Orth
Steve Orth heels on The Spook Dun Time to win the ARHFA Cornhusker Classic in Lincoln, Nebraska. | Courtesy Elite Equine Promotion

Inevitably, team ropers think that the harder you pull, the harder your horse will stop. 

But when you’re pulling hard, so often your heel horse will peg his front feet into the ground and stop his front feet, which can stop your rope from staying open while going through the feet.

Steve Orth Has Won Four Futurities on Four *DIFFERENT* Heel Horses in 2022.

Outside the Run

To keep one from pegging on the front end, I steer stop on my heel horses to teach them to stay with the steer and keep their timing and slide. 

In the Run

When I’m in a run, my goal is to teach them to stay on the left hock coming around the corner, and that will keep them peddling into their stop. First, I am leading my horse through the corner rather than pulling or lifting through the corner. I keep my right leg into him to keep the left hock down through the corner. (If you use your left leg and your horse is trained correctly, you’ll kick his butt to the outside and lose your forward momentum.) 

I teach my horses to keep an arch through the corner with their nose and left hock the same direction—like they’re coming around a circle. They have that driving wheel that’s their left hock. The shoulder will be out of the way because they’re coming around the circle in line. They’re strong with the saddle horn to keep their shoulders up. And with their shoulders up, they can really take the jerk, and they can keep their front feet moving as they slide to a stop.

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