No matter where I plan to throw my rope, I need to ride my horse to the end of the box and let him catch up to the steer without reading my throw. That means I need to stay aggressive out of the box while still staying out of my horse’s way—a balance that isn’t always easy to strike. I’ve got to stay off my horse’s face while using my body to drive my horse to the steer, and I’ve got to get my rope up and moving. This allows my horse to run for a few strides to help us catch up and set up my throw before I rope.
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This is my first stride on my horse after I’ve nodded. I’m just bringing my rope up, but I’m down in my saddle riding through my first stride. If I try to get up out of my saddle before he hits the ground on the first stride, I will get rocked back. If I’m trying to get forward on the first stride, I can get rocked back behind my horse, causing me to lose my power. My left hand is down headed toward the steer, and my feet are more holding on and not over-riding. I try not to do too much on this first stride.
This is on my horse’s second stride. I’m out of my saddle and ahead of my horse. My rope is turning over to the right of the steer, and I’m ready to start roping. I’m hustling my horse with my feet by kicking, and my left shoulder is pointed toward the steer’s left horn, which makes my horse go to the steer without my having to rein him to the right. My body position makes my horse hustle to the cow. Sitting too straight up will force me to rein him over there. My left hand is down on his neck and my reins are loose, but my body position is riding toward the cow. That lets him find the steer and work on his own.
By not pulling on his head and letting him leave flat with my left shoulder to the left horn and my right hand high, it’s completely up to him and I’m out of his way. That lets him stay flat and catch the cow just as if you’re running him out in the pasture. I’m not in his way. There’s nothing keeping him from going to the cow. He’s got his ears pinned and he looks like he’s trying to catch up on his own.
With my left hand down letting my horse go to the steer, I can focus on my loop and keeping my tip to the right of the steer and above the right horn. By being ahead of my horse and my horse working on his own, I can focus on my roping. My hand is a little above my head so I can reach. My tip is above the right horn, so I’m waiting to get close enough to reach a little bit.
Everything is exactly the same as my first stride out of the box. I’m a little ahead of my horse and down in my saddle. I’m using my legs and my whole body to get ready to deliver the rope. If I were square and behind my horse, I’d only be able to use my arm. In this position, I can use my body to help deliver my rope. My left hand will stay right where it is. I don’t raise it up because it’s too much of a cue. I want my horse to still be on his own. If I try to use my left hand too much, he’ll read my throw too early. All that’s left to do is deliver my rope.