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The Ideal Heel Horse Stop
Three things Kollin VonAhn looks for in a WHOA.
Kollin VonAhn heeling on Flash The Smart Cat
Flash The Smart Cat and Kollin VonAhn have won $94,890 so far in their futurity journey even though the horse can’t “just drag it.” | CFR Photo by Chantelle Bowman

Kollin VonAhn has won two world titles on horses that didn’t just dirty drag it. What does he look for in a heel horse stop?

The Horn

A horse needs to stop, but more important to me than the stop is what they do with the saddle horn. Them stopping pretty is not that important if they bring the saddle horn to me. A horse that stops pretty and brings the saddle horn is probably ideal, but to me, it’s more important that they have good timing with the steer and the saddle horn comes up. If they do both good, they usually stop good. 

READ MORE: Following Your Steer’s Tracks

Slide or No Slide?

I really don’t put sliders on mine to speak of. That isn’t that important to me. If they don’t have much slide but keep the saddle horn coming to me, I’m good with it. 

READ MORE: Spacing Through the Turn

Shoulders UP

That one sorrel horse I had, Hock, he was a no-stopping son of a gun. But he raised the saddle horn up. What he did best was leaving his shoulders up. If a horse drops his shoulders, I miss my dally. A horse has to track a steer good to keep his shoulders up. If the horse can stay in the same spot for five or six jumps at a time, that timing is good. As they quit going forward, it’s not as pretty, but the art of tracking that steer really well is what makes great heel horses—I don’t think there’s been a great heel horse that doesn’t follow a steer good.

WATCH ON ROPING.COM: Teaching Patience in a Heel Horse


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