With most of my head horses on the injured list I have chosen to stay home this summer. Rather than enter the BFI and summer rodeos, I’m going to let my horses heal, teach some schools, and work on my roping.

This month I’m going to discuss my philosophies on teaching clinics. Everyone has their own way of teaching. Clay Cooper and I have had many conversations about the struggles of trying to teach people everything they should know, plus try and fit it into a couple of days. It’s virtually impossible. 

The perfect scenario would be to watch each student run four to six steers in different situations to see what they do. That way each student would get personalized instruction for what they need to work on.

When I first started teaching, I would keep a notebook and as the students made their runs, I would make notes of what they did wrong. Invariably they would make the same mistake in each run. After lunch I would share the results with each person and, almost without fail, they would tell me they didn’t normally do that. They just didn’t realize what they were doing.

Now, I’ve incorporated filming as part of my schools. I prefer to do small schools with no more than five teams. Private schools at my house are limited to two teams. This allows me ample time to film, set up different scenarios, and rope the Hot Heels. After lunch we watch the video and it’s always enlightening when the students see themselves on film. There it is in living color and they understand exactly what I’m saying at that moment.

You cannot fix problems in a day. But you can address the problems, learn what you have to work on and how to go about doing that. 

So much of it is about your horse. It’s important to learn to use your hands and feet to get your horse to respond. It’s also important to understand the cues you are giving your horse while you’re trying to rope.

Recently I had a drawing where I gave two speedroping.com subscribers a two-day school. Part of the deal was I got to film the students and talk about what they did wrong. It was good to break down their runs and lay out a plan for them to work on their roping. It’s given me a whole new subject line to talk about on speedroping.com, like why your horse doesn’t work and why it’s so frustrating.

Teaching people how to improve starts with acknowledging the problem. When you can see your weaknesses, it’s much easier to fix your problem. I always say the video does not lie.

For more information on my schools and available dates, visit speedroping.com and click on the “Where’s Speed” link to see my calendar.

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