I don’t turn my horse any certain way riding into the box.
Most people have a pattern, and they stick with it. But for us, riding young horses, I want them to be able to not have a set way they have to turn. I just want them to back into the box. If you look at the guys rodeoing, they usually have a pattern. But I want my horses to not have a set pattern. I want to be able to ride into the box, turn in either direction, ride to the front, and be between my legs backing up.
On young horses, I want them exposed to everything. One run, I’ll ride into the back of the box. On the next, I’ll ride into the front of the box and turn toward the steer. Then, I’ll turn away from the steer. I mix it up, and I think it’s important with the development of the young horses to be able to adapt to whatever the rider does. A lot of people are set in their ways, but young horses need to be exposed to everything.
A lot of places, you have to ride in through the back of the box. And, if I feel like there is a weakness or refusal or uncertainty in that, I work on it. That’s part of the seasoning process.
The old timers always told me to walk in, turn toward the cow and back up. But a lot of team ropers today turn away from the cow. That’s because they can keep the horse’s hips moving and block them in case they want to turn their butt out. They can push on that spur and lock their horse in right there because they don’t have a lot of control. That’s a box hack you can use if your horse doesn’t like to get his butt in the corner. Staying as close as you can to the corner is a way to get you by if you’re having issues at a roping or rodeo.
I want to be able to ride to the front of the box and back completely to the back of the box between my legs. If I want to scoot them either way, I want to know that I have control of the horse. Like so many things I talk about, that control is key to adapting to certain situations.
More from Remuda Partner Miles Baker
Why Do Horses Want to Kick Their Hips Out in the Corner?
At least 99% of the time, horses kick their butts out of the corner because they’re dreading the pressure you’re putting on them there. That’s the way they see to get out of the pressure. People take a hold of their reins as hard as they can in the corner, and pulled on them so hard and so long that they’ll kick their hips out and spin around. If you’re at a jackpot, you can prevent it by holding your right leg into their side and keeping their butt in the corner. You can also cheek them in to the inside where you’ve got them trapped, but that can cause leaning. Both of those are a Band-Aid on top of the real issue of their avoidance of pressure.
Watch Baker’s real fix for this problem this month, exclusively on Roping.com.