A smooth, balanced, flat departure from the box sets the stage for a successful run. If your horse is squatting back, requiring them to lunge into action, their balance is skewed and you risk missing the barrier and poorly setting up your first swing. In this Roping.com video, Trevor Brazile shares his tips for leaving flat from the box.

1. Gauge the necessary rein pressure

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Every horse is different and requires a different level of pressure to stay light and responsive. Maintain a strong enough hold so that your release cue is a clear signal, but not so much that you’re sitting your horse back too far. The lighter the horse, the more definite you have to be with your “leave” and “stay” cues.

2. DON’T sit too forward

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“A lot of times, people want to get to the front of their saddle faster,” Brazile says. “And in order to do that, they get their toes down and get their body over the horn. And to me, these horses are too powerful for that. I think that’s setting yourself up for failure. Because once these horses leave the way they should, if you’re already up, your horse will shoot out from under you and you’ll pull up the reins.”

3. DO sit back and use your horse’s momentum

Watch the full video here.

“When I’m sitting in the box, I’m pretty much as far to the back of the saddle as I can be,” Brazile says. “When the horse leaves, I’m already as far back as he can put me. And so when I feel like I can use his momentum, then I’ll be with the horse when I get to the front.

“I see a lot of people trying to stand up and be to the front, but they can only stay there for a second and then they have to fight back to the front.”


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