Ask the Pros–Taking the Jerk

Dear Clay,
I have a pretty green heeling horse and he is starting to fear the jerk. What can I do to prevent this?

Cody, Rawlins, Wyo.

Dear Cody,
Try not dallying on him in the practice pen a little bit and see if that helps. Just give him a little bit of a jerk now and then. Or, if you can rope calf-roping-sized calves that are a lot smaller and lighter that will give him kind of a jerk, but not a real one, that might build his confidence. You can rope a pull dummy that can be dallied and have the person who’s pulling it hardly hit you at all so it’s a real small, light pull and that might help build his confidence. Also, make sure he stops right, but don’t jerk his head off. Sometimes pulling on them a lot makes them scared of the jerk, too, being too heavy-handed. So I recommend trying some of those things.

Clay O’Brien Cooper

Related Articles
Trevor Brazile training rope horse fundamentals while roping on a sorrel horse in a covered arena
Relentless Insights
Starting a Rope Horse: Developing Timing
5 Flat
Building Confidence in Young Rope Horses
Jake Barnes on Sunny and Clay Cooper on Ike at the 1994 NFR.
It's Almost Showtime
Vegas Prep Beast Mode
A very young Clay O'Brien Cooper heeling for Danny Costa.
Breaking Bad Habits
Break the Leaning Habit
Wise Words
5 Pearls of Team Roping Wisdom from Dick Yates