Gain Control on Slower-Loping Cattle with Patrick Smith

Keeping your timing through the turn on slower-loping cattle is something ropers of all abilities struggle with. Here’s how Patrick Smith has mastered it.

Finding the Holes

I always joke about my dad. When he started roping, he was in his 50s. All he wanted to do was go fast. If a header ever turned a steer slow, he hated it. He just wanted them to go fast and get them out of the way. I know a lot of you probably feel the same way. But the truth of the matter is, when you’re going slow, it exposes the holes you have in your horsemanship and the holes your horse has. Because, if we can’t go slow and maintain control through the corner and keep our timing with the feet through the turn, then what we’re doing on fast cattle is nothing but luck.

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All-Around Control

To me, the most important thing a guy can work on when roping older, slower cattle is control—making sure you’ve got control in not only your rope but in your body position and your horse.

What Control Means

Spend a lot of time keeping control through the turn, where you can see the feet all the way through the corner, making sure your swing is crossing the steer’s back when the feet are up, jump for jump, just like jump rope.

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Swing Speed

In the turn, be hustling to get ahead of the steer with your swing. It’s easy to just get lazy when they’re loping. If you’re not ahead of it getting into the turn, they’ll beat you to the ground.