Kirchenschlager shares tips on how to use your feet when roping.

PRIORITIZE HORSEMANSHIP

When I went off the rodeo road last year, (AQHA World Champion trainer) Clay Logan told me about the American Rope Horse Futurity Association events Jay Wadhams is putting on. I’ve taken it seriously, and I really like it. It’s got so many opportunities for the team roping industry. I had no idea what I didn’t know about riding horses before I started into this.

GUIDE, DON’T OVERRIDE

You need to be working on sitting in the middle of your horse, using your feet, keeping the steer out in front of you. You should be guiding your horse with your feetÑnot always your bridle reinsÑto where you want to go. You shouldn’t have to be kicking constantly to get to the steer. Your feet should be putting your horse in proper position. Your horse isn’t a car, and your reins aren’t the breaks and your feet aren’t the gas, and you can’t just jam the peddle in and slam on the breaks.

FORGET THE HOOKS

Probably 90 percent of the people I see wearing spurs don’t know how to use them and would be better off taking them off. What your feet do should be mimicked by your horse’s feet. If you want your horse farther down the arena, ride a little harder but stay square and keep your feet even. If you want to be in there closer, back off with your feet. But none of that means you should be spurring your horse stride for stride down the arena. You should be riding a horse that wants to go to the cow, not one you’ve got to spur every step of the way. 

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