The most important thing for me when I’m finishing one out is knowing when to slow it down and when to go back to the basics. I’ve been jackpotting on a bay, 6-year-old (Pib) that I have, and she’s definitely been one that I’ve had to do that with. I run barrels on her, too. She’s Dash Ta Fame—she’s bred to run. There’s no cow anywhere in there. That’s what I try to focus on is knowing when to slow down. Here are the steps that I’ve used:
From the start.
When I first started her, she hated the box. That was a big learning curve. I cross-tied her in the box. She got saddled in the box, unsaddled in the box. I grained her in the box. I did everything right there. That was where she hung out.
I started her last spring on the dummy. We did a lot of slow work on the dummy and in and out of the box to introduce her to it. She seemed like she got bored. She was just kind of going through the motions, and everything was so perfect so I felt like I needed to put her on live calves. Then from there we started coming out of the box on live calves. I just let her tell me where she was.
Knowing when to back off.
I haven’t entered a jackpot on her in about a week because she was getting unsure of herself at the start. Instead of breaking to the pin she was breaking down the wall and doing things that she hadn’t been doing. I figured that we needed to go to the practice pen and score and break things back down.
You have to listen to your horse. That’s the biggest thing is because she wasn’t settling in her stop and things like that. I needed to go back to the basics and slow things back down for her.
Ask for help.
A big thing for me when I feel stuck is asking for help. I might be the exception to that because I grew up roping with Ricky Lambert. I’ve always been in such awe of his horses. I’ve spent so much time there that it’s a phone call to where I can call and be like, ‘Hey, my horse is doing this. What should I do’? Or send him a video and be like, ‘How do I fix this’?
Really in the rodeo world everyone is out to help everyone else. There’s nobody that’s like, ‘I’m not going to give you advise because you might beat me’. That’s not how that works. Just knowing that people are always there to help you. I think that’s the key to it.