I see a lot of lower-numbered ropers or kids getting too close to the cow throughout the run, which doesn’t allow for enough distance. That affects a lot of things, but most importantly, it affects the position your body is in as you deliver. That body position relates directly to the power you can put on your tip.
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Being too close to the cow going down the arena and through the corner will cause you to try to sit down and back in your saddle to create the distance you need to see the feet and deliver your rope. Plus, if that steer slows down too much or stops, you only have that first shot because your horse is going to need to stop, then catch up, and you’ll be out of time.
When I’m delivering my rope, I want to have my legs locked into my swells, with my toes down and my feet behind me. You’ve got to have pressure in your stirrups and be standing up to get the power from your whole body.
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Making It Happen
A lot of top guys have trouble describing this position because it has so much to do with personal preference. Here’s my take, though. I want to leave the box with my horse’s head tipped a bit to the left watching the cow, but I want him breaking up the wall. That gives me room to pull if the steer steps left or right. Here’s the key, though. I want to be the same distance from the steer when the head rope goes on as I am when I heel the steer. That not only gives me good separation—it gives me the ability to see the feet from the position of power I’m in.
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