When you start roping pretty good, if you’re not careful, confidence can turn into a combination of ego and pride that can intimidate the people around you – even your own partner.

I’ve seen it a lot. Somebody is finally roping sharp and on top of their game and everyone is patting him on the back. Then that guy starts subconsciously intimidating his partner. The minute the partner messes up, the guy might sigh or throw his head a little. Or maybe he won’t say anything to the person for about the first 100 miles. 

 It’s one thing when you need to give somebody their space for a few minutes. But when you do talk about it, try to encourage or be light-hearted about it. Tell the guy, “Don’t worry about it. I know a good restaurant here in town and win, lose or draw, we’re eating well. You’re not going to get out clean every time.” 

To encourage is to empower. It works on your horse, too. You can overlook it if your horse has one bad day. Nobody needs reprimanding every time they don’t perform perfectly. Kids especially don’t. When certain kids are reprimanded, I see them retreat into a shell. That treatment just isn’t going to make that kid play harder for that coach. I’ll be watching and just shaking my head, thinking, “that little boy needed a hug right there.”

Headers and heelers are the same way. In my career, there have been certain guys I would try my tail off for, and Jimmie Cooper was one of them. That guy would constantly come and tell me what I could have done better. I would say, “Jimmie, I just roped a leg.” And he would say, “No, you never just rope a leg.” And I would think he was patronizing me. I would say, “No, seriously, I just roped a leg. Don’t worry about it.”

It was irritating enough to rope a leg without him pushing the issue. But he kept at it. “Tell me what I can do to make it better,” he would say. “If I handle them halfway decent, you catch two every time. I know how good you are. Help me be the guy to get it out of you.”

 So I would. He had so much confidence in me and affirmation for how good I was that it made me feel like Superman heeling for him. He believed in me. You can do that for your own horse or partner, too. You are constantly either affirming that you believe in them or basically letting them know, “I don’t have faith in you; I don’t think you’re good enough.” It’s the same thing that can happen in a marriage – tearing your partner down without even realizing it.

Instead, be mindful. If your partner screws up, suck it up and don’t be a jerk. Remind him or her that you’ll get ’em next time. Visit BachRoping.com for more.

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