Become a Better Horseman: Krista Wade


Become a Better Horseman and Shave Seconds Off Your Time With These Top 5 Tips! 



1.Treat Your Horse Like a Horse First and a Team Roping Horse Second
So many times I find that people only work on their horse’s discipline and not on the horse itself. A horse is a horse first. He needs to be respectful, quiet, confident and controlled before he can ever go do a job. Make sure you have a well-balanced horse in and out of the pen first, and this will catapult you in your event and put you ahead of the competition. Think of how respectful and responsive your horse has been that day first and not necessarily how many runs your horse has had that day.

2. Get Control of Your Horse’s Hindquarters
The hindquarters are the driving force of the horse. If we don’t have control of that part of our horse’s body nothing else will come together. We need to make sure the slightest leg pressure back by the back cinch will get the horse to disengage his hindquarters left and right. This will better position our horse in the box, help them catch their leads and help us get in position when

3. Ride on Our Pockets
This is an important part of horsemanship. A horse balances and pushes from their hind end – we need to do the same.
If we get forward out of the saddle and push with our shoulders to encourage our horses to go that is exactly where our horse is going to go – straight on their frontend/shoulders. This is not what we want. We want our horses balanced and driving on their hind end, and we need to mimic that to help our horse.
Always think “get my pockets of my jeans under me.” If you keep your pockets under you in the saddle, you will never get up on the horse’s shoulder and out of position. Drive with your hips so the horse can drive with their hips.

4. Control the Shoulders
In order to have a good steering wheel on your horse, we have to have control of the shoulders. We need to make sure we can move the front feet left and right at any moment. That way if the steer jumps left or right we are right there stride for stride. Practice exercises like counter arcs (their nose is bent the opposite way their shoulders are moving), spins (getting the horse to sit on their hind end and elevate their shoulders and move off of our leg), and half-pass (moving our horse’s shoulders at a diagonal across the pen). If I can’t do these three things at a walk and stand still, there is no way I will be able to move my horse off to the left or right at the gallop. So, it is important in everything.

5. Over Exaggerate in Your Dry Work

I hear so many people say “Krista, I don’t want my rope horses to rollback like a cutting horse in a run.” Rollbacks and some exercises I work on are not about the exercise itself. It is making sure when the money is on the line I know I have that horse responsive to my cues and hooked in to what I need him to do. When you are practicing at home and working away from the box you need to make sure you exaggerate to teach. When the money is on the line and the adrenaline is up we will lose 60% of the fine tuning we worked on at home. I want to over exaggerate softness, shoulder control, hip control, stopping, backing, etc. at home so that way when I back in the box I will have 40% of what I worked on when I go to compete.

If you only train for 70% of perfect at home, when you get to the pen you will only have 10% of what you worked on at home. So, I will over exaggerate at home so that way when I get to competition I know my horse is willing and respectful of every cue.

Horsemanship is key in being a great roper and just a great horseman. If you can take the time to work on the little things it will pay you back ten times over in competition. For more information on our horsemanship clinics where you can learn actual exercises to help you achieve these goals visit us at or call us at 800-GO-Ropin. 



August 6, 2014 |

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