Knowing Your Horse In Jackpots or Rodeo Situations with Dustin Bird


Some ropers forget that you’ve got to pay close attention to your horse, whether you’re at a jackpot or rodeo. I’ve been riding Dolly since 2007, so I’ve spent more than a decade learning how to ride her, and I’ve had to adjust myself, too, as she’s changed with age—especially at the jackpots.

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Warm Up

On high-energy horses like Dolly, it helps me to get to the roping early and ride her down. I trot her more than I lope, and I ride her longer than I would at a rodeo where I would just need her to be explosive.

The Score

A lot of high-energy horses like Dolly score even better the longer a jackpot goes on. So if I can spend the right amount of time getting her warmed up, she’ll score at the beginning of the jackpot like she would at the end, and that’s a feel I shoot for every time I get to a roping.

[READ MORE: Dustin Bird’s Dolly is Spin to Win’s Head Horse of The Year]

To the Steer

If I raise up too early to throw, Dolly will read me and stop running. So at the jackpot, I have to make sure to keep riding until I’m ready to throw. Otherwise, my throw will get cut short and I’ll miss the right horn. I don’t want her to be ahead of me.

What that Means

I’m keeping my body square and riding all the way to my throw. I want my body to be forward, and I need to keep riding with my feet to get to my spot where I know I have a high-percentage shot. 

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