Tuning Up Your Horse Through Logging
The main goal when I log my horse is to create a habit where they immediately step backward out of the stop and don’t stop backing up with purpose until the calf is flanked and on the ground. Then I want them to have all four feet standing still, leaning back with the rope tight, and paying attention to me while I'm tying.
I put my rope around the neck of the Tuf Kaf and drag it out to the middle of the arena, minus the sled. I start by sitting on my horse (a few feet away from the Tuf Kaf & facing it) and the rope tight around it's neck. I then start backing my horse up until the rope comes tight. I remain sitting on them and encourage them with consistent, light hands to back up with purpose. After the rope is tight and the horse is backing up and dragging the Tuf Kaf, l slip off the right side and stand still while my horse continues to back up with purpose, dragging the Kaf towards me.
While they’re going backwards, I focus on the direction that they're backing. The goal is to have them back up straight. If I think they’re backing up crooked, I will push on the rope one way or the other to kick their hips back straight.
If I think they’re being lazy and not trying very hard, I will drag the Tuf Kaf towards me to create slack in the rope. I then hold the rope up and give them a chance to hustle their feet and move backwards. If they don’t try to get back, I will whip the rope down and away from their face so it slaps the keeper that is wrapped around their tie down, as a reminder to hustle their feet backwards. Remember that timing and consistency is everything here. Slapping my horse repetitively with my rope will only make them numb and slow, because it takes away their enthusiasm towards their job.
If my horse wants to work and drag the Kaf straight back towards me, I will simply stand still and let him do his job. It’s important not to turn and square my shoulders up and face the horse, because my horse may work out of response to my body language. Since I don’t do that at a rodeo, it’s not a good habit to create in practice. I face the Tuf Kaf the whole time but look over my shoulder to see what my horse is doing.
Once the horse has drug the Tuf Kaf to me, I will then pick the Tuf Kaf up to it’s feet. I expect my horse to continue to pull the Tuf Kaf as I flank it to the ground. Once it hits the ground, I kneel down and get low to the dummy. This tells my horse to stop pulling, stand still, and lean back on the rope to keep it tight.
It’s important for me to spend a lot of time sitting on the Tuf Kaf, making my horse stand still with the rope tight. After a minute or so of sitting on the Kaf, I very quietly and softly pull the Kaf forward about two inches. Then I sit back down on it. At this time my horse should take the slack out of the rope, then stand still & lean back on it. If he doesn’t do this, I will verbally smooch him back until he does so. Then I repeat this drill until he understands that anytime there is slack in the rope, it’s his job to make it tight again.
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