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Horsin’ Around

Roger Thompson
Fort Collins, Colo.

It has been my experience that the majority of high headed horses are caused by heavy-handed riders. By heavy-handed riders, I mean folks who snatch and jerk on the reins to control a horse. If you watch very many cowboy movies, as I do, you see this move often. When I was working in Hollywood cowboy films, I found out this is because most “movie extras” at the time did not really know how to ride or handle a horse. Now, most of the heroes of western movies have trainers who work with them before a movie.

Most horses get high headed by the folks who begin training them with a bit in their mouth. The horse does not understand that a pull to the right means turn to the right, or a pull back on the reins means to stop.

I like to start a horse in the round pen (when I started riding, the only round pens were used for ‘stompin’ broncs). Teach him/her to come around, stop with gentle pull on a hackamore or halter rope with leg pressure.

It has been my experience that the majority of high headed horses are caused by heavy-handed riders. By heavy-handed riders, I mean folks who snatch and jerk on the reins to control a horse. If you watch very many cowboy movies, as I do, you see this move often. When I was working in Hollywood cowboy films, I found out this is because most “movie extras” at the time did not really know how to ride or handle a horse. Now, most of the heroes of western movies have trainers who work with them before a movie.

Most horses get high headed by the folks who begin training them with a bit in their mouth. The horse does not understand that a pull to the right means turn to the right, or a pull back on the reins means to stop.

I like to start a horse in the round pen (when I started riding, the only round pens were used for ‘stompin’ broncs). Teach him/her to come around, stop with gentle pull on a hackamore or halter rope with leg pressure.


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