Learning the Ropes: Teaching to Head with Brad Lund

Learning the Ropes: Teaching to Head with Brad Lund

Train a horse to head with help from AQHA Professional Horseman Brad Lund.

Brad Lund heading (Credit: Journal)

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Like any discipline, it is important to take the time to properly train a head horse gradually and correctly. AQHA Professional Horseman Brad Lund lends his advice on how to start training a head horse

“When I introduce my horse to heading, I first teach him to ‘log’ by pulling the ground-driven roping dummy around and teaching him where to keep his body position,” says Brad. 

“By logging the horse, I am teaching him to also accept pressure on the saddle horn. Sometimes, when you first ask the horse to pull the dummy around, he will get scared a couple of times,” Brad says. “During this training period, I don’t worry about where his body is. I just want him mentally to get used to having pressure on the saddle horn and what it actually feels like to pull something.

  • Start out at a walk, and then start trotting as the horse learns how to take some pressure on the saddle horn. As time goes on, work the horse in straight lines across the arena.
  • Eventually, push his hip away from the rope. When a horse pulls, his natural instinct is to get his hips or his hind legs underneath the rope. When he’s running across the arena, there’s no way that he can face a steer like that. 
  • Keep his rib cage stuck out to the left and his nose tipped to the right a little bit. That way, when you stop him and ask him to face, he’ll be in the proper position.
  • Take the dummy and lope with it. When you lope off, put the horse in the left lead. When you come to the end of the arena to turn, push his hip over and make him move over just like you would if you were heading a steer. 

When you finally introduce the cow, you will be basically steer stopping, just roping the steer, stopping him and then letting the horse get used to the steer pulling on the end of the rope.