Tel: (949) 412-7308|



 The Horse Roll Back

The Roll-Back is one skill that is shared in most cow competitions.  It does not matter if the roll-back is being conducted in Cutting, Reining or Team Penning it is the most effective and efficient maneuver in changing a horse’s direction.


Often, riders believe that pulling the horse back and turning are one in the same motion.  This common mistake overlooks the complete stop as part of the maneuver.  It is the complete stop that allows the horse to be squarely on his haunches.


If the horse does not stop squarely on his haunches, the horse will most likely fall on his inside shoulder, which would either result in a penalty (reining) or slow the horse down on its turn allowing the cow to slip away (Cutting, Sorting and Penning).

  • Horse Roll Back
    To execute the roll-back properly, the horse must come to a complete halt by stopping squarely on his haunches, then rock back on his hocks and turn through a 180-degree change in direction.


    Leslie Mitchell of Reno, Nevada, always trains the stop first before any roll back is attempted.  During the training for the stop, Leslie instructs her students to have the horse take a couple steps backward.  The stop is what allows the horse to transition from the haunches to the hock.  Leslie has been teaching this skill for over 20 years and she is the 5 time world champion in not only in Reining, but Team Penning as well.


    Since cows can change directions on a moment’s notice, riders must always be squared with the horse’s shoulders.  By practicing the stop first, reminds the rider to be squared as the horse rocks backward to his hocks.


    Once the stop has been mastered, the rider follows up with a supple rein command followed by a leg command.


    The rider should focus on making a 180 degree turn and keeping their shoulders always squared through the turn.  Remember, the more the rider tries to help the horse by turning their body into the turn, the slower the horse makes the turn (especially if the rider pulls the horse through the turn).


    Practicing along a fence line also helps be making the horse come to a straight stop, followed by a 180 degree turn.