Horse Hustle: Riley Minor Breaks Down First Run at Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Team Roping

Riding through the quirks of a new horse.

Photo by Mike Foster

SITUATION:

First steer, Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Team Roping

RESULT:

Average win with a 31.68 on five, worth $34,140

Riley Minor and Jake Long team roping at the Mike Cervi Jr. Memorial Team Roping

a) Jumpstart: This is the first run of the day so I just was trying to go catch this steer and let Jake Long do what he does. He throws so fast, so obviously, I was just going to try to turn him the steers and not get in a hurry. You don’t have to pull them very far with him back there.

[READ MORE: Clay Smith Breaks Down a First-Steer Run in a Tough Field]

b) Horse Position: The horse is getting ready to face in this picture, and everything is in control. His shoulders are up, and he’s bent in his ribs. He’s elevated, collected and correct. If I were to fault this horse, I’d say he can be flat in the corner. I don’t love that about him, and he pulls off his shoulders more than some horses. But by this point of the run, he’s picked up and shaped up. Obviously, you don’t want him in that position if the heeler hasn’t thrown yet.

c) Horse: This is Frosty. I’ve only had him a little over a month. He’s 11. He came from Kaleb Driggers, and Chad Masters before him. I’m still trying to figure out the best way for me to ride him. He doesn’t like a lot of pressure on his face, but right there, I have him collected up like I’m fixing to wheel him around. I’m not just going forward pulling the steer—I’m starting my face. 

[READ MORE: Catching Close: Nelson Wyatt Breaks Down a Rancho Rio Run]

d) Head Control: I want to keep going back up the pen with the steer’s head to keep constant pressure on the rope to not let him get loose. I get excited and I face a little early, and this horse will come around sometimes a little early, so I try to keep riding to the end of it a little more. 

e) Right Leg: I’m kicking here, fixing to stick that leg in him to kick his hip around to cue him to turn around. 

f) Body Position: I like to be sitting down with my left hand forward up the neck a little. I don’t want to be out over the front of him when he’s trying to get turned around.

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