By Speed Williams
One of the most important aspects when I am teaching is how to keep your horse working. The use of your legs and controlling your horse is an important part of that. Many times when we watch our videos in slow motion, the student’s legs are in the wrong place.
After you’ve roped and pulled your slack, you want to open your left leg so your horse can go left. I’ve had multiple #7 and #8 headers at my house with outstanding rope handling ability who don’t use their legs correctly and they struggle in the corner.
Going left and facing is a vital part of keeping your horse working well and it’s important to maintain. That’s one reason I had Priefert build the Speed Trainer. This tool has been essential in teaching my kids how to ride correctly. You need to be able to kick with one leg and disengage the other so you’re not squeezing, but riding the stirrups. At the same time you need to be able to swing your rope, then rope and pull your slack and dally – without pulling on your horse just out of habit. I’m trying to teach my kids to be lighter in their hands so their horse will be more responsive when they do need to pull on him.
I can’t begin to tell you how many times I see people’s hands and feet in the wrong position for what they’re trying to get their horse to do. When you’re able to control your hands and feet, you will control your horse better. Most often, when trying to improve your roping, it starts with your riding.
I grew up riding 10 to16 outside horses a month. My dad had a lot of trading horses and usually had 30-50 head around our place you could rope on. He was not a big believer in having horses light in the bridle because the clients he sold to used the bridle reins for balance. The majority of horses we had could be roped on without touching the reins. You used your legs for almost everything. That was a very vital piece of the puzzle in my heading. I was able to kick, swing and rope and be able to use my legs at the same time.
One thing I have my kids do when we rope the Hot Heels is to leave their hand down, swing their rope and let their horse work on their own. If the horse makes a mistake, they need to engage and then disengage the reins, so they’re not pulling on their horse all the time and maintaining contact pulling.
There’s a big difference between having your horse “in your hand” versus pulling with a lot of pressure where you’re teaching your horse to run through the bridle. When you pull on your horse and he doesn’t respond, you’re actually teaching him to run through the bridle. That is one of the hardest things about teaching team roping because so often during the run, people use the reins to balance. Consequently they are always trying to change bridles to find responsiveness, when they’ve actually been teaching him to run through the bridle.
That is the whole reason and need for the Speed Trainer. Horsemanship, or lack of, is one of the biggest reasons people don’t improve faster. I’m very excited at the speed of success my students are having when they utilize this tool.
What’s new with me: I have been teaching quite a bit and going to some jackpots. The kids are getting ready for their Junior High School rodeos to crank back up.
I’m so impressed with the progress my students make on the Speed Trainer. Feel free to check out my video on speedroping.com that shows how it works.