One of the keys to roping is getting the right start out of the box. In a previous post, we talked about going to the pin. This puts your horse in the right position with the cattle.
Another way to get the right start is to make sure your horse is flat in the box. You want your horse to be able to push off with all four feet not lunge or rear out of the box on two. When they come out flat, they come to speed faster and you have the opportunity to rope quicker.
One thing that people do to cause their horses to squat in the box or be too far back on their hind quarters is they only focus on getting their horse in the corner and keeping them there. So they put all of the pressure on them to get as far back in corner as possible. They put a lot of pressure on their bit and reins. Their horse has to squat or lean back in order to try to relieve some of the pressure.
There is a simple process that you can use when you are practicing to help keep your horses flat in the box.
1) Back your horse into the corner.
2) Then have your horse take a couple of steps towards the pin.
3) Then back your horse in the corner.
4) Then walk your horse all the way to the pin and stop.
5) Let you horse relax while standing in the right position next to the chute.
6) Then back them in the corner again. You will notice that they are now flat and not squatting. You also have more control of their motion in the box.
This simple process will relieve a lot of pressure on your horse.
A couple of things to note:
1) You should not perform this exercise every time before you rope. Your horse may start to stall because they think they are only walking to the pin and not running to the cattle. We usually do this just a couple of times out of 15 to 20 head of cattle.
2) When they are flat in the box, reward them by releasing some of the pressure on your rein. Remember, they do not need to be back on their haunches and shoved in the corner.
3) Also, allow them to stand at the in but if they want to move out of position you need to get after them and put them back in position.