As I prepare to rope at my first Finals, and as I work on my roping in general, I’ve been trying to ride farther down the arena to set myself up for a faster shot.
When the head rope goes on, a heeler can want to chuck his or her horse to the inside too quickly. I’ve been trying to trust being up higher on the steer, I want to be on the left hip when the steer hits, but I need to know that my horse is reading that play and I’m working to keep him riding down the arena so I’m not in there too tight and lose sight of the feet—forcing me to track across.
Making It Happen
In a perfect scenario, my hand is halfway down the neck framing him up about halfway. I’d want the horse’s neck in between the bridle reins. With my feet, I’m trying to keep them under me. I’m trying to keep my feet with my horse more through the turn, keeping him up in the front end and keeping his butt down. I don’t mind him a little bit straight—as long as his front end and shoulders are freed up and standing up. If I can move his front end easily left and right, I’m not worried about them being too bendy. I want even reins, so they are standing up and free with their front end moving.
Where It Works
Of course this matters a ton in small setups like the Thomas & Mack. But, you’ve got to be down the arena far enough if you want to take a fast shot anywhere.