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  • Writer's pictureTim Johnson Cutting Horse

Common showing mistakes and how to stop making them!

What do we TRY to do when showing and preparing, and more importantly what do we try NOT to do?

Just bear with us for a minute while we stand up on our soap box and try to tell you what we tell ourselves, or our Non Pro/Amateurs to better their mindset and outcomes in the show pen. Tim is dishing out some of his best advice in regards to showmanship and mental game. While some of these may seem obvious, to anyone starting out, it can be hard to wrap your mind around all the rules, and then also what to do to persuade the judge to give you 'pluses'. 

With that being said, we ALL make mistakes, us included! These are helpful reminders, or affirmations, that we too still have to remind ourselves of every damn time we enter that herd.


DO practice positive self-talk when analyzing your run, and try to visualize your ideal run. 

DO NOT go down the rabbit hole of negative self-talk and telling yourself how incapable you are. 

DO take your run one cow at a time. The goal is to have a steady flow, but try to focus on tackling one task at a time smoothly, and that ideal flow will follow naturally.

DO NOT get ahead of yourself and start to rush your run because you’re thinking too far ahead to your next move. Keep it simple and take it step-by-step!

DO focus on having the best run in any circumstance. 

DO NOT judge your run only on what the judge marked you.

DO keep your hand low and slow while you’re walking through the herd and cutting your cattle.

DO NOT have your hand high or rapidly, you don't want to distract the judge from your horse and the cow.

DO fight to start and finish each cow in the middle of the showpen.

DO NOT drop your hand on the wall or quit a cow in the corner.

DO drive up through that herd with conviction and show your horse off to the judge with confidence.

DO NOT be indecisive in the herd and cower behind the cows. Trust your horse!

DO show the judge your personal, and your horses strengths. Use these assets to your advantage.

DO NOT put your horse in a position where a weakness might be exposed to the judge.

DO find an effective preparation routine and stick to it! Take your time finding what works for you and your horse and try not too stray from it.

DO NOT just wing it every time you show up to the horse show. Be prepared and keep it consistent for your horse.

DO be realistic about what went wrong and right in your runs, analyze it from all perspectives, yours, your horses, the judges, and your helpers. 

DO NOT only blame the cattle, or your helpers for a run not working out in your favour. Always consider what you could have done to improve you or your horse.

DO celebrate the small victories and don’t be afraid to give yourself a pat on the back. You’ll notice you start to crave that feeling of having a win even if you didn’t win your class that day, and that will allow you to achieve more and more. 

DO NOT be so hard on yourself that you miss out on the positive aspects of a run. You can learn from every single run and we can bet that you can find something to be proud of from each run, no matter how big or small.

Well folks there it is, take it or leave it, ten things Tim even has to remind himself at every show and that we encourage you to try to remember next time you walk to the herd. Comment and tell us your best show advice, we'd love to hear it!

Thanks to the support from our amazing clients and sponsors, we're able to go down the road and work hard at this crazy life!

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