Wesley Thorp’s heeling position and swing is a thing of beauty.
I don’t swing from the second my header nods. I ride my horse out, get the right distance, and get to my position before I get my rope up. If I’m trying to get my rope up, I’m wasting swings when I could be getting to position and creating distance. I want to be getting my weight in my stirrups and riding to a good spot so I can set up the run.
At a World Series or USTRC roping, I like to ride a little narrower position down the arena because the headers get such a good start and the head horses are so fast that, as a heeler, you can get behind more easily. If I’m narrow through the corner, I can follow the steer’s tracks and stay to the outside around the steer so I don’t get too far inside and don’t feel out of the loop. That means I’m wasting less motion through the corner, ready to throw faster, and riding my horse better.
My goal is to have a swing that allows me to go straight into my delivery. I want every swing to matter. That means from the first swing i take, i should be able to delivery my rope. The only reason you swing is so you can have the power to throw your rope. A lot of people—including myself—can make a mistake and get caught up in swinging too much. We need to have a swing that allows us easy delivery. That way, we don’t have to change up a lot of different things to throw and can be ready in the same spot every time.