If you have attended any rodeo live event, then you know how exciting it can be to watch steer wrestling. What is even more exciting is participating in it by itself both as a horse and a rider. In the PRCA organized rodeo competition, the horse and rider are put in a small pen and a breakaway kept in place in front to make what is called “the box.” ROB BLAKEMAN teaches how to train your horse for Steer Wrestling.
They break through this barrier once the steer has released the rope tied around the horse’s neck. This lets the steer have a fair chance over the two as once the barrier is broken, the rider and his/her horse must ride to catch up to it.
If you have checked on any recent rodeo event schedule and have seen a steer wrestling competition, want to participate but don’t know-how, we are here to guide you through it.
How can you train your horse for steer wrestling?
For a horse to be trained in efficient steer wrestling, it has to be taught to ignore its natural instinct that will make it flee from the steer or turn to face the steer while running beside it. To achieve this, the horse is made to stand next to a steer wrestling dummy while another person rattles the dummy and makes a lot of noise with the dummy it next to the horse. The horse will grow accustomed to this and will no longer want to flee.
Next, the horse will be made to stand still next to the dummy while you are shifting your weight to the sides of the saddle facing the dummy. It is useful for you to have a holder to stop the horse in case it tries to bolt and reclaim the former position next to the dummy.
Once the horse has grown comfortable with the rider shifting the weight on the side while it is standing next to the dummy without running off, the holder can then walk the horse forward once the rider has made contact with the dummy and has gone to the ground. This should be done when the horse is at its most comfortable state to avoid it jumping sideways or hoping away from the rider. Once you have gained the horse’s trust, put the dummy in motion and perform these motions at a brisk walk beside it while it is moving. Increase the speed of the horse when you feel it is comfortable till you reach full speed.
While doing all these, ensure that you keep the horse from jumping sideways as this will deny it an escape route through the side panels while wrestling in the arena.
Once you have trained your horse to hold its peace while the riser leaves the saddle to steer the horse, it must be trained on entering and maintaining its stay in the box.
Start with circling your horse at the front of the box. Do this till it starts to show some interest in getting into the box on its own. Once it is comfortable getting into the box, work on keeping it on the corner opposite the chute. To achieve this, the rider ought to use leg pressure as opposed to their hands to control it. Use the hands only when preventing the horse from going forward, and only a little pressure should be applied to the bit to prevent the horse from raising its head, causing it to go up when it takes off, which will not be in the best interest of the rider. When the rider has managed to stand in the corner of the box without fighting the rider to leave the box, the rider can now work on training it to leave the box following a straight line and catching the steer once the barrier is released.
If your horse can perform all these comfortably, it is now ready to compete in all the necessary events, and you can now check the schedule for the steer wrestling competition and how you can participate.