Ian Francis is a legend amongst Australian horseman and is often described as the best horseman in the world. He has trained more horses and received more awards in more events than any other horseman this country has ever seen.
I audited at one of Ian Francis’s cutting clinics in Melbourne in 2011, (Australia) and these are some of the notes that I too…k during the day… I am sure you will find them useful. Thanks to Ian for allowing me to share the following tips when cutting training with your horse:
Bring attention to the Cow
Go with the cow, stop with the Cow and then put the horse’s eye on the Cow.
DON’T TRY TO BEAT THE COW IN THE TURN
Synchronise with the Cow’s front feet…Rock back and wait for the Cow
NEVER pass a Cow- be behind the Cow’s eye – teach the horse to rate –this relates to Campdraft in taking a cow in a circle.
Start dead centre to the Cow- head to head
Stop – press off- rock back and turn – this refers to a horse that leans in at a cow
Make them most comfortable in the high pressure areas
Body straight – with nose into the Cow (two eyes)
Have the horse on its back end, and hold nose through the turn (180 degrees)
Things happen because we cause it, or allow it to happen
Correct hip if bulged out on the stop
Turn into and then AWAY from the Cow when quitting
Ride to the cow to create motion- then reposition – parallel
If you get a ‘fugly’ turn- forget the Cow and keep turning until balanced and correct
The horse needs roundness through the turns to contain collection in preparation for the departure.
*Form to function* (1.)
*Never Half Pass to your cow to close the gap – ¼ turn and walk directly to the Cow**
Position has three references: the herd, the Cow, the horse
Always go WITH the Cow – setup with the Cow – everything should be cow related
Don’t let the horse quit his Cow. . .
“The brain is behind the Eyes” – (Ian was telling a guy to make his horse look at a cow, as the horse was looking away ) – he can’t work something he can’t see
If the horse turns away from the Cow- step up to the Cow and make him focus on the Cow
*Get off next to the Cow when he is in a GOOD position (“Yep! That is where I want you to be”)
Convince the Cow that the ‘door is closed’. . .
Don’t be sending them to places where they don’t need to go…
Come with the Cow, don’t try and outdo the Cow…
“Don’t be Trigger Happy”…
** Slow and steady in the turns and then speed up**
The other thing that Ian told a lot of riders to watch – were their hands. Too many people overused their hands (pulling and tight fists on reins) and he often had to remind them to use their legs more than their hands and let the horse go and do his job.
Kerryn (Equine Remedial Services)
1. “FORM TO FUNCTION doesn’t mean it is just the horse’s responsibility to get into the correct shape, the responsibility also rests on our shoulders. Just as important as it is for the horse to have his body properly aligned, so is it for you. For example, if the horse is traveling to the left, we need our body to be shaped and focused to the left as well. If our body position is not in alignment with the horses, we are going to inhibit him. Our focus, where we want the horse to travel, is just as important. Horses don’t have crystal balls; they can’t guess where we’re going to go. The more correct our body position is and the better we focus on where we want to go, it makes things more obvious and less obscure for the horse.” -Ian Francis