Crossing Over the Cow by Al Dunning
When working a cow while training your cutter or cow horse, it is necessary to take a logical approach to teach your horse to read the cow, listen for leg cues, and maintain functional form. One technique that is instrumental in this process is called “crossing over the cow”.
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN?
When you have your horse parallel to the cow and the cow is stopped, some horses lose intensity and focus. Standing dull and flat-footed puts the horse at a severe disadvantage when the cow moves again. When this scenario occurs, you should “cross over the cow” by backing a step or two, then turning your horse into and across the cow’s hip.0 This will keep the horse thinking and initiate the cow’s movement.
WHY SHOULD YOU DO THIS?
This is a positive training action in the form of functional activity, which teaches a horse to read and counter the cow’s movement. It also connects the horse to the cow and assists in developing an axis, pivoting on the hind end. It says to the horse, stop, hunt the cow, pick up your front end, be athletic, sweep across the cow smoothly…
HOW DO I DO IT CORRECTLY?
After completely stopping with the cow, back a few steps to get your horse on his rear, bend and turn using your inside rein to bend and outside leg to straighten (after the movement has commenced). This action has the horse prepared to make the identical move in the opposite direction to the head of the cow. It’s important that the horse gives well to the pull, bends readily, and yields to the leg pressure to make this an effective technique.
This is a popular training tip to help your horse be solid working a cow. Getting a horse to focus, maintain a relaxed confidence, and stop and turn with proper form is paramount.
Ride Well and Cow Up!