Game Plan with JD Yates

Putting together the horses to win.


The toughest gig today is finding the horses that you can win on. As you well know, fewer horses are bred now and there’s more demand. There’s twice as much money in team roping today as there was 15 years ago. So, if you can find good horses, you’ll need to be ready to pay for them. And if you have them and you want to do this for a living, you’ll want to hang on to them and take the best care of them you can.


What always fits one person doesn’t fit the next. Before you take off and go rodeoing, you better have two horses you’re comfortable on that you can get on any time and win. One horse won’t last you through the year. I’m a firm believer it takes at least two to go be successful and beat these guys. From the road miles to the runs, and as fast as you’ve got to be, those horses can go a while then need some rest. You have to have a fresh one ready to get in the trailer if you’re going to go win.


To me, as tough as roping is today—the way that guys are doing it, and as many good ropers that are out there today—if you go to a major competition, you need to be riding your best horse. If not, somebody else is, and they’ll beat you. I don’t have horse selection for one place or another. Lamar, Colorado, is as important to me as Reno, Nevada. You aren’t going to win on a bad horse at either place. The horse that’s working the best, the horse you can be comfortable to win on, is the horse you need to be on. 

What did you think of this article?

Thank you for your feedback!