Question: As far as picking a prospect for a higher-end rodeo head horse, would you prefer to try and slow a horse with a lot of run down or try to speed up a horse with a lot of natural rate? —Jake Scott
Answer: It’s a double-edged sword, because for amateur ropers, rate is better. But for guys going down the road, who have to reach, you want a horse not drawing back in your delivery, so horses that are more forward generally make better rodeo horses.
Horses with more rate are usually better to start and rope on for the majority of people out there. A rate-y horse is easier for the average Joe to get on and ride. Most jackpot ropers will want a horse that will err on the side of rate. Rate, though, isn’t the opposite of run, and run doesn’t mean charge-y, either. We’re talking a fine line, but horses are generally either more predisposed to be forward or more predisposed to rate.
But for most ropers, even higher-numbered ropers going to big ropings on a World Series start, as soon as you go, you need something to really read cattle. You need a horse that really recognizes their position consistently, that way the ropers aren’t having to place their horses. The horse has got to run until you throw. Rate will be your friend as far as fewer wave offs, and it will let you make a few more mistakes. You also need to recognize that, if you start throwing too soon on more rate-y types of horses, their rate will leak farther and farther back.
The horses I prefer, they don’t have as much natural draw on a cow and are more forward.
But through my training process, I put a lot of rate in my horses even if they don’t naturally have it because I rope going to the steer. I keep them going forward through my delivery, and I keep them pushed up enough to where I put however much rate I want in them along the way. The racehorses I’ve been riding a lot lately, I put extra rate in them at first because I know I will be glad the rate is there.
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