When I’m getting ready to go compete on a young horse, I want to spend the week leading up to the competition making sure my horse’s basic fundamentals are in place.
I want him free, functioning correctly and watching the cow. I want him connected to the steer and not over-anticipating me throwing and wanting to cut in.
When we get to the roping, everything will speed up and our reactions will get quicker, and that can lead into the horse if we have him too sharp in the practice pen.
Position down the arena
I’m going to make sure he’s in the right spot and keeping his spacing the whole way down the arena, not getting too close to the steer but not jumping out too wide, either.
Connection to the steer
I want to make sure he’s paying close attention to the cow through the corner as I turn in, keeping good distance so I can keep the feet in sight and keeping his shoulders up and his hips down.
Free through the throw
I want him to stay free for two or three or four hops. I want him to relax across the pen, keeping his feet moving by pushing him up with my legs and keeping my left hand up and forward.
Settled in the stop
I’m not going to cram him into the ground when I heel the steer and hold my slack up. I’m not going to dally and take the jerk.
This way, he will have the basic fundamentals where they need to be to allow me to win.