The most common problem, even for myself, and with the exception of about 10 guys, is roping great in the practice pen and then falling apart in competition. Lots of ropers practice a certain way and rope great at home, and then they do terrible every time they compete. And that comes down to this: you either compete like you practice or practice like you compete. You have to put in that realistic effort and make it the same at home.
Ropers will free their horses up and score and keep them honest, and then you try to be 4.0 when you get somewhere. People will run 50 steers in a week and only try to be 4.0 on three. That’s a problem, because the way you practice and the way you compete need to match.
Read More: Specific Practice
You have to sacrifice some runs in the practice pen for yourself. You need to practice for your head horse, but you have to make time for yourself. I have not had a selfish practice for myself since I started heading except maybe three times, and if you look at the standings, it shows. If you don’t have a practice horse, it shows. The guys who do so good—Kaleb Driggers, specifically—practice the way they compete. Kaleb will go at several of them aggressively every day on his practice horses. The guys who do good have the practice horses that are worth as much as their competition horses because they keep the competitors sharp, even if they don’t score or face as well. It’s what you have to do—it makes you feel like you’re getting a horse to ruin him, but they’re worth it.
I’m the biggest hypocrite ever right now—because I know it needs done, and I don’t do it. If a guy is going to be the best, you have to make the sacrifices to have the selfish runs that aren’t for your horse, aren’t for your partner, and aren’t for anybody but yourself.