Getting his attention

“You break colts?”


“You a bronc stomper?”

“Well, not exactly.”

“What do you do, saddl’em up and buck’em out?”

“No…actually, we gentle’em. Then we teach’em to be rode”

“I don’t understand. How do you get’em to stop bucking?”

“You don’t let’em start! Let me ask you something.”


“Did ya ever try teaching something to a kid?”

“Tried, but I gave it up. They won’t listen.”

“That’s because you never got their attention!”

“How in heck do you do that?”

“Well, did you ever see the science show on TV ‘mister wizard’?”

“Yeah, so?”

“He got kids’ attention by building a volcano, then blowing it up! Kids love to blow stuff up! They like unexpected things, like jumping off a cliff in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid”, or the downhill run in “Man from Snowy River”!”

“So, how’s that relate to being a bronc stomper?”

“It doesn’t, i’se jest messin’ with ya!”

“Aw, man!”

“No, really, it does relate. Ya cain’t reason with a horse, just like ya cain’t preach to a kid. You gotta use “horse language”.

“What the tarnation is that?”

“The ABC’s are position, movement, pressure and release.”

“What’the’ ?”

“Okay, I’ll give you a fer instance.” He explained. “You got a colt in a small corral, and you walk in. What’s the first thing he’s gonna do?”


“That’s right! Then what do you do?”

“Rope him”

“See, that’s the difference. If you want to speak horse, you let him run. You might even keep looking at his rear end and move toward it, to encourage him to run until he slows down a little. Then you sort of step in front of him some. Most times he’ll suddenly stop, and turn toward you, and look straight at you with both eyes, and his ears forward at you. That’s when you have his attention!”

“Then what do you do?”

“Turn and walk away. That’s the reward for giving you his attention. You release the pressure of being scarey to him by turning your back, and walking away. You aren’t something scarey anymore. Releasing that fear pressure IS the reward for focusing his attention on you.”

“Then what?”

“You repeat that in the other direction. You do it over and over until he stops, looks at you (gives you bother eyes) and begins to lick, chew, and swallow. Now you have his attention and you are beginning to gentle him. He’s watching you like a hawk, waiting to see your next move, you’ve got his attention!”


“I guess I got your attention!”

“Yeah, now what?”

“Come back tomorrow and I’ll show you how we use that to keep him from bucking.”

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