In preparing for this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Kolton Schmidt and Hunter Koch are taking their run to the next level.
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My swing has been way too tight, and my first two swings are almost a wasted motion. They don’t have direction or power, and they’re just kind of lost. So I’ve been roping slower steers and seeing less in the practice pen so I have to find my target right away and pick up my rope with purpose from the start.
I’ve always looked at the base of the left horn as my target, but I think when I’ve been picking my first swing up I’ve been looking at the general area of the cow rather than making a point of focusing directly at the target. The more I focus on that, the better my swing is, and the faster I’m ready to throw.
I’m trying not to get too tilted over. I get in the habit of pointing with my shoulder and letting my feet hang instead of keeping my feet moving and pushing my horse’s body toward his position.
I’ve been able to ride different horses because of this change. I’m trying a few horses, and I feel like I’m getting away with riding more comfortably looking for my target sooner. I don’t need the horse as much if I’m looking for my throw sooner. I have more options.
I’m working on riding more consistently, and it’s going to make my roping more consistent. I’m riding the corner a lot better and finding my spot down the arena. When I can tell when the steer leaves, and I see his pattern, I can feel out what he’s going to do, so I push to my spot.
It almost feels like my left hand is my gas pedal. I can ease my hand down and my good horse, Garfield, picks up speed and, as I ease my hand up, he starts to hover. It’s really easy for me to try different things.
Learn more about Hunter Koch here.
With how Kolton is heading, I can’t be as much of an offensive heeler. I don’t have to take near as many chances. As he picks up speed, I have to make sure I just catch and take a high-percentage throw. If he runs close, I have to take the risk. He’s trying to get faster, and I’m trying to get consistent.
This is a very, very necessary change for us to get to a higher level. All the greats that have been in the sport ride the corner really good, and they put themselves in the perfect position every time. It’s a must have and a have-to-do.