I think saddle size is very important because it's a part of your foundation-just like a tree. If a tree's foundation is not very good, when the wind blows, it's going to blow it over. If the roper's foundation isn't snug and tight, you might find yourself tipping or having trouble keeping an upright and sturdy position and keeping the tip on the end of your hand. So you want a nice snug fit.
I happen to be 5'10˝, 175 lbs and I use a 14½˝ saddle and could probably even go to a 14," but I like just a little room between the horn and me so I can dally. I have ridden saddles that were 15½˝ but they were saddles that I won. I didn't have the money to buy a custom saddle, so I rode those. I had success in them, but the longer I went in my career, I was able to team up with Court's Saddlery and they were able to make a saddle that fits me really well. I think it makes a huge difference to have a saddle that fits you.
A good seat in a saddle where you can hug that horse tight with your legs and your body will allow you to throw faster in the corner and you can get more leverage on your swing and a little more leverage on getting the angles right when you turn on in the corner. When your body is stationary, it makes everything smoother.
I'm always late on the corner. Do you gave any tips to get into position faster?
Carson, Pierre, S.D.
The reason you're late in the
corner is that you're not mentally prepared enough. You back in the heel box and everything is still-
including your mind. Then everything goes from zero to 60 in a matter of seconds and your mind and your horse are just a little behind.
When you get in the box, you need to prepare your mind for the run and anticipate things happening. That way you can get out of there a little quicker and get your position quicker. A lot of people get in the box and they don't think their run starts until they get out in the arena. Your whole run starts in the box, so you have to speed your mind up to the speed of the run before the steer comes out of the chute.
You can think about where the steer's going, how fast he's going to be going and react to it. There are only seven or eight things that a steer can do to try to beat you. When you back in the box, you're looking for those things. I'm not looking for one that's slow and easy, because I know I can catch a high percentage of those. The ones I don't catch are the ones I want to anticipate. One that comes to the right, I have to get up there and hustle and hold him. If he tries to go left, you want to try to get around him more so you don't hang up in the corner. A steer can check off when the header ropes him, so I'm looking for that so I don't go by the steer. I'm looking for a steer that might follow the header after he ropes him because I'll have to use my feet and make sure that steer doesn't get away from me.
The only way to anticipate all these things happening is to get repetition so you can recognize different characteristics of different situations. SWR