By Speed Williams

Recently Dustin Egusquiza asked if I would help him improve his jackpot roping. I told him I would be more than happy to help if I could post video of his runs on and talk about what we worked on. Dustin is early in his professional rodeo career and incredibly talented. His short game is quite amazing and he is able to throw very fast.

Most guys from the east (like myself, Dustin, Kaleb Driggers, and Luke Brown) learn to reach because we grew up rodeoing behind a short score. The majority of rodeos in the east are short scores in small buildings. You learn to get it on fast if you’re going to win much and Dustin does a very good job in this scenario.

However most of the jackpots, and some rodeos, on the west coast are long scores with 18 to 24 feet boxes. It is a very different game when the box is 24’ versus 16’ long. Understanding the difference, and what has to be done differently, is a key factor in being successful at the rodeos all year.

Success in both setups usually require a different horse for each. I have seen a few horses who could adapt, but not many. During my rodeo years I was fortunate to have two phenomenal horses. Viper was my short score horse, and Bob was my long score horse. Viper was extremely broke and could go any direction at any time. I could start, pick up, and he would float to the line. If I dropped the reins he would run. He was the perfect short score horse. Bob, on the other hand, was also extremely broke but when you dropped the reins he ran wide open. He wasn’t good at short scores because you couldn’t change your speed running to the barrier. I always tried to put horses in situations that best suited their traits and what they were good at.

I take my hat off to Dustin for understanding his weaknesses and being willing to work at them. We talked about what he was doing with his legs and hands and how he needed to get more run from his horse going to the cow. After he reached on three or four when he was supposed to ride to the cow, I cut his rope off. I wanted him to make his horse do the work without relying on his rope handling ability. He did a very good job of using his legs and making his horse run and do more. 

That is the name of the game when you have a long score, you have to ride and make your horse run. Make your horse do the work and not just come bombing and trying to reach with your rope. When Dustin gets back from California and the long scores we’ll have more videos of at the house. I was very impressed with his effort and ability. I’m excited to see what the future holds for the young man.

What’s new with me: I’ve been teaching a lot, both at the indoor in Santo and away from home. Gabe has been roping non-stop and just learned a valuable lesson about tightening your saddle before you rope. The video is on We are headed to the USTRC roping in San Antonio this weekend.

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