Why It Matters
Paying attention to where my left elbow is has made me help my young horses more and ride my finished horses better—giving them a better chance to perform and giving me a better chance in my throw.
I like when my left hand is against my rib cage (as shown above). That helps my horse keep his shoulders up and his rib cage bent. If you watch the best guys, that’s something they have in common. The first time I noticed it was when I really started watching Jade Corkill. He does that so well.
I don’t want my right elbow too far turned out. If I let my elbow leak out, it turns my coils over. That, in turn, makes my rope hit differently. There’s a time when I go to deliver, that it can stop my rope from going through the feet because of how my coils are turned—all because of where my elbow is. I think through the turn, too, if you lose your horse’s shoulders, you can also lose their ribs and lose their frame. It also blocks your throw on the first hop. Every heeler throws on the first hop today, so if you can’t see that shot, you’re going to lose a lot of important time. I noticed I was doing it on a futurity horse I had. He’d stay framed up in his shoulders, but his nose would be tipped to the cow. He didn’t block my sight or anything, and he felt great, but when I’d watch it on video, he’d be straighter than I’d like. I want him bent just a little bit, and where my elbow is through the turn is what changes my hand placement to make that possible. I do it because I’ve been rodeoing all summer, and I get to almost trying to make things happen faster with my elbow and anticipating the turn. My elbow points toward the cow, and sure enough my horse anticipates the turn, and now I’m too far inside. I take one more swing, and we go from 4.2 to 4.9 and win last hole instead of second.