Queue the Cutting Horse

I remember one day when I was a teenager, Buck put me on a young cutting horse to show me how to “cue” him. In cutting competitions the rider is not allowed to touch the reins, so they must hang loose. The horse works the cow by instinct and training; but there are times when the rider needs to give him “a little help”. Buck told me that if I wanted to back him up, I was to push down and a little forward on both stirrups. Then a leg touching his side would send him sideways, and legs back would send him forward. As I rode the colt into the cattle I realized there was no neutral or middle place, he was constantly in motion responding to my every movement, even my random ones. he was so tuned that there was no “just riding” him, I was “directing” him forward, back or sideways all the time. But his responses were immediate and he “sure had a purty way of looking at a cow!” He was a specialist. Many years later while in the United States Air Force I was riding in the backseat of an F – 100 combat fighter jet. The pilot told me to go ahead and “take the stick.” Which I did. As I flew along my thumb was searching for a little button on the side of the control stick. Finally I asked Jack, the pilot, through the intercom, “Where’s the trim tab? ” His answer was a laugh. “There’s no trim tab, you just fly the sucker all the time.” It was just like riding that young cutting horse. You had to “ride him” all the time.

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