5 At-a-Jackpot Fixes for Problems in the Box

Levi Simpson header in roping box
Levi Simpson on his great horse Stetson in the heading box. | TRJ File Photo

Every once in a while, in the middle of a roping, the wheels might just fall off your head horse in the box. Here are some tricks to getting by your horse in the corner and getting through a roping.


You’ve got to think about whether there’s something you’re doing to cause your horse to get this nervous in the box. For some people, the further along a roping gets, the more nervous they get without even realizing it. Know whether you need to step away and take a deep breath in a corner, laugh it up with your friends or put your AirPods in and listen to some music to refocus.


If your horse is really not wanting to get into the corner, keep riding him ahead and keep his front feet moving. The goal is to keep him loose in the box and to keep him from locking up any part of his body.


Between runs, if my horse isn’t wanting to stand in the corner, I’ll keep him moving. I don’t mean I do anything crazy like run circles the whole day, but I do try to keep him occupied and loose. That allows the box to be his release point, the only place he can stand and relax throughout the roping.


The biggest thing to remember is that no matter what happens, take your time. Once you get in the corner, take a second to catch your breath and focus on what you’re doing. I see guys finally get their horse set and they’ll just nod and go, and they’ll get a bad start and mess the run up. Stay focused on the run at hand.


I’ve watched a lot of guy have too much pride in their own horse when there’s big money up. There’s no shame. If it isn’t working out, somebody will lend you a horse. Step off your horse. You might be better off. 

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