4 Tips to Help Your Drawpot Heeler with Jake Cooper
From local drawpots to big-time ProAms, headers can help their heelers build confidence and win money.

Horse Selection

If you draw a heeler you don’t know well, whose number is lower than you usually rope with, ride a good horse. Some people can be tempted to ride a greener head horse, but riding a better horse will pay off. Your heeler will see you have confidence in him or her, and you’ll be able to give a better handle.

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Don’t Reach

I like to run pretty close when I have a heeler I’m not familiar with. Having too much rope out will make it harder to handle the steer, and could catch your heeler off guard.

Pick Up Your Horse

When I rope, I will pick my horse up a little bit just to get a hold of the steer. I don’t want to whip the steer around and give the heeler a hard corner. I want to get the steer’s head to slow him down so the heeler can keep the same pace with the steer.

Keep Him Moving 

If you slow the steer down too much, your heeler could run into him. But I don’t want to go too fast so my heeler can’t get to his spot. Even at a drawpot, your heeler could be nervous wanting to do a good job for you, so slowing the steer down too much could throw his or her timing off. Try to keep the steer hopping at a good rhythm and allow the heeler time to get to his or her position. It’s very rare that you do the perfect job. You can try as hard as you want, but you’re riding a wild animal roping a wild animal, so you always have to try to do your best. 

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