“Focus on the Feel”
There is a great formula for cutting success that involves technical skills combined with the feeling of executing those things with confidence.
Here’s what I mean. As you’re learning to cut, you absolutely need to focus on how you hold your reins, which foot to use, how to round your lower back, etc.
But once you’ve gotten the “feel” of the result of those mechanical skills, either with your horse, or in the herd, or working a cow … it will boost your cutting performance to make sure you focus on that “feel” … and own it!
The reason why this works is that your sense of calmness, clarity and feel is what allows you to respond to ever changing situations in cutting.
For example, can you think back to a time when you made a great cut? You stepped into the herd, felt grounded, saw the cattle, felt connected to your horse and made a gorgeous cut in the middle of the pen. Can you remember the sense of calm and focus as you did this?
If the answer is “yes,” even for only one time, then revisit that feeling over and over as you think about the technical skills of where to be on the cow as you drive up, etc. Not only think of the feel but put some mojo into it! Step up there in your mind!
Do the same for working a cow. Do you remember a time when you felt at one with your horse, deep and still in the saddle as you were focused on the cow? Revisit that feeling a million times. Work that cow with rhythm and confidence in your mind.
Do the same for in between cattle. Do you remember a time when you paused between cattle and felt a sense of calmness and clarity before you re-entered the herd? You owned the herd! Relive that feeling over and over in your mind. In between cattle live the feeling of having everything under control as you begin your re-entry into the herd … with authority!
Take the time to feel the awesomeness of these moments and the spirit of them individually and seamlessly woven together. Enjoy and see your cutting improve.