What you don’t do in heeling matters just as much as what you do. Everything that happens in the run is critical but, sometimes, what happens after a run is as important to your horsemanship.
After the Dally
After a run, I like to sit still. That goes for any horse, but especially my younger horses. I want my horses at every age as calm as possible. I want them not thinking about going forward or backward. I see guys whip them forward or jerk them back, and I don’t think that’s really good for anyone.
Making It Count
That time isn’t just good for the horse’s mind, either. I am sitting there calmly playing back what just happened in my mind, allowing me to analyze what I saw and what I felt while it’s fresh. I think about how I rode the corner, if I should have taken another swing, or stayed to the left some more. If I’m just sitting still, my mind has more time to process everything that just happened rather than rushing to get out of the arena or get to the catch pen to talk to my partner.
READ: Riding the Corner
Soaking It In
I like to coil my rope up, and while I’m doing that, I let my horse soak in what I just did, what he just did, what the steer just did. It gives both of our brains a few seconds to catch up to all that happened.
WATCH: Finishing the Stop