1. When a horse ‘drops a shoulder,’ it means
A) he’s stumbling or falling.
B) you’re in for a large vet bill.
C) he’s leaning or drifting.
2. A horse that ‘roots’ is
A) sliding into the ground.
B) pulling on the bit.
C) cheering you on.
3. To ‘roll your spur’ means to
A) press it along your horse’s side.
B) wave it in circles at your horse’s side.
C) trip over it and fall on your face.
4. A ‘can-chaser’ is a
A) glutton for feed.
B) a steer roper.
C) a barrel racer.
HOW’D YOU DO? (Answers below.)
1. C is correct. A horse that drops a shoulder has shifted his weight to his inside foreleg on a turn or a circle. Also known as falling in or leaning, it can cause the horse to drift to the inside in a way that’s frustratingly difficult for the rider to correct. (But here’s help for you with that, from Bob Avila.)
2. B is correct. A horse that roots is diving his head down to pull the reins out of your hands. Simply pulling back on the reins isn’t a good fix; it just sets up the battle. Instead—once you know it’s not a problem with the bit itself—drive the horse energetically forward each time he attempts this, which both brings his head up and makes him work harder. Over time, this makes rooting seem less desirable to him.
3. A is correct. To roll your spur means to roll the blunt rowel of the spur along your horse’s side as a cue. Properly used by someone with an independent seat, spurs can provide a higher degree of precision in cueing than can boot heels alone.
4. C is correct. Can chaser is a term used to refer to a rider who competes in barrel racing, though if you say it to the person’s face, you’d best duck.
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