Taking a Holt
• The Perks:
These head horses score flat-footed, looking down the rein at the steer in the chute, just waiting patiently for their header to say launch off like that lady at the water park. When a header pulls on that horse’s bridle reins, he stays. When the header loosens the reins, he goes. Some horses will score like that forever, especially when you just need to see a little bit, and that fits with their natural timing. Those horses are ideal, because we all have a tendency to pull when we nod, especially when the steer doesn’t go anywhere. They stand in the corner when you pull, and they go when you drop your hand, and they can do that every day for the rest of their lives.
My black horse, Stranger, who I rode from 2006 to 2011, really fit that mold. He’s probably the only one of my horses that was ever this type of horse. He locked onto the cow the second I rode in, and all I had to wait on was the steer to get right. My job was to just go rope, which made heading pretty easy.
If you’re wanting to pull on your horse or hold them, you’ll be more successful at shorter scores. The trouble I’ve had is trying to make every horse work like this. I can teach a horse to let me pull on them, but then get to the roping and they’ll either let you score or they won’t. But what do you do if you get there and they won’t?