Is Your Body Movement Costing You Time in the Face?

If you’re moving your shoulders or hips more than you’re moving your horse’s shoulders and hips, you could be giving the steer his head back or keeping the flagger from stopping the run.

There are certain things you can do with your body that will not help you face your horse. There are a lot of times in a run you can move in your saddle, and it will be beneficial. But not if you’re trying to move your horse’s hips by doing the work for him.

READ: Mirroring Your Horse’s Body Position with Joseph Harrison

Shifting my left hip or pocket over to the other side of the saddle raises my right leg off of my horse, opening up that side of the rib cage. If I keep my heel down and into the horse and then shift my hips, I take the horse with me instead of just moving my hips.

A lot of team ropers will face themselves and then bring their horse around, instead of using their feet and seat to move the horse’s body. Once you’ve moved your hips the wrong way in the saddle—as in rocking your hips to the left—you’ve lost the control because your right leg is coming out of the horse and your left leg is going into him instead of waiting on your horse.

READ: Body-Position Breakthrough: Practical Advice That Changed Bobby Mote’s Heading

Look at videos of your horse not facing. If you’re moving your hips in your saddle too early without making sure your horse comes with you, you’ll see a big part of the problem.

Likewise, if you’re pulling the steer and you’re going to face and you lean your upper body, you’re going to dump your horse’s shoulders back down the arena, giving the steer his head back. You want to drive the right side of your body into the horse, while keeping his upper body from falling that way. When you go to face, if you throw your upper body, your horse will go with you. That’s too common of a problem.

WATCH: Body Position in the Face

WATCH: Heading Horsemanship & Facing

Make sure you keep your leg into him and keep your upper body centered. You want your horse’s shoulders up and moving to move their hind end around.

It’s hard not to do it because you’re wanting to get faced. You’ve got to be mindful of what you’re keeping in motion as you’re moving your hips. Your horse has got to be moving its hips, too. They’re flagging your horse’s body—not yours.