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Tuesday, December 1, 2015
If you’ve ever had to replace a heel horse, you know how difficult it can be to find a horse you can get along with; especially if you’ve been riding the same horse for quite a while. I’m always amazed, when watching my clients, at how intelligent horses really are. I see so many heelers that never engage their reins, yet the horse figures out the cue of when he needs to stop. This is an unspoken, and often unintentional, cue and what makes the horse so hard to replace.
Heeling can be very frustrating because there are so many variables out of your control. I often show people video where the heeler does everything correctly and yet misses because the header did not do their job correctly. It can cause a heeler to lose a lot of sleep and without watching it on video, it’s difficult to detect.
When watching heelers who come for lessons, it doesn’t take long to figure out which speed they rope the dummy. If you rope the dummy going slow all the time, you tend to stop early and then throw. Then when you get on fast steers, you struggle to keep the legs in your loop and get a dally. All because you stop your horse early and he’s standing still when your rope goes on the legs and your rope is speeding up as it’s leaving your left hand.
It’s very important to learn to engage your bridle reins, especially when riding a young or green horse. Currently I’m working on a young heel horse, Ricky, an ex-Reiner who is scared to death of cows. Recently I’ve finished a six-part video series with Ricky about heeling on a horse that stops with his head down and the effects of that habit.
A heel run is an equation where the speed of your swing, how fast your horse is moving, and how fast the steer is moving are all related. The answer to that equation determines when to engage your reins. If a horse is stopping correctly, it’s easy to put your rope on the ground. If he is not stopping correctly, it’s very difficult.
What’s new with me: We are getting ready for the USTRC Finals. I’m trying to take some time to practice for myself and get my horses ready. This week Jake Long, Wesley Thorp, Steve Northcott, and Shay Carroll practiced at the house. I’ve loaded all those sessions on speedroping.com for viewing.
Jennifer and Hali both roped well at the World Series in Stephenville this weekend. Jennifer won the #12 and Hali placed twice in the #10. Hali and Gabe are both playing select ball and we have tournaments every weekend.
Be sure and check out my six-part series showing Ricky that includes stopping during the heel run and why it’s so hard to replace a heel horse.
Posted by SpeedRoping at 10:07 AM