I was at a couple of ropings taking pictures recently and there were several wrecks that occurred that were totally avoidable. A couple of horses were injured slightly but it could have been a LOT worse. Sometimes we are a wreck-waiting-to-happen.

   VetsView sept12 SaddleSlip

     I was at a couple of ropings taking pictures recently and there were several wrecks that occurred that were totally avoidable. A couple of horses were injured slightly but it could have been a LOT worse. Sometimes we are a wreck-waiting-to-happen.
     The first wreck occurred at the trailer. A roper had brushed her horse and had saddled him. He was tied to her trailer with a rope halter and she slipped the halter off and put the headgear on the horse. She unsnapped the end of the rein from the bit and tied it to the same tie that the halter was still hanging from. She then walked to the back of the trailer to get something out of the tack compartment. As she stepped around the back of the trailer the horse got to rubbing on the halter that had been left hanging there and got hung up and pulled back, breaking his rein and falling over backwards. As he fell he barely missed a young boy who was walking past the rig. No one was injured but it could have been a very serious accident.
     The second wreck could have also been a lot worse... one of the headers forgot to cinch up his horse for the second round and his saddle slipped as he set the steer for his heeler. Luckily he was able to undally and keep the saddle from rolling clear under the horse (see photo). There were a lot of ropers congregated in the area and they were all scrambling trying to get out of the way. Thank goodness the horse was broke. I’m sure the horse’s back was pretty tender the next day.
     The third wreck was along the arena fence where a horse had been tied up with a halter and nylon lead rope. Someone leaned a rope bag up against the fence and the horse started to paw the bag and managed to get a rope out of it. Next the horse got tangled up in the rope and spooked and pulled back. The nylon lead rope didn’t break and the horse kept lunging forward and then setting back. A couple of ropers finally managed to get in to cut the lead rope and get the horse loose. Once again, no one was injured but the horse was skinned up and had some rope burns.
     Later in the day three horses were tied side by side along the end of the arena. They had been tied there for quite a while and had not been bothering each other at all. They were tied on a pretty long lead rope with a lot of slack between the halter and the fence and one of the horses walked under the lead rope of the adjoining horse. The lead rope of one horse was now hung over the saddle of the neighboring horse and was tightly tied to the arena fence (with an extra horse in between). They were all standing quietly for quite a while until one of the ropers came to get his horse. The knot had pulled tight on the lead rope and he was unable to get it untied. Instead of cutting the rope or trying to ease the horse forward and unsnapping the lead rope from the halter, he got to jerking on the end of the lead rope to try to get it loose and the wreck was on. These were cotton lead ropes and one of them broke and the snap of another lead broke and the horses trotted a few feet and just stood there. People had been walking past them all afternoon and it was just luck that no one was run over in the wreck.
     Last spring a man tied a horse about 10 feet down from the gate to enter the arena and went to his truck to get something. Every time someone would attempt to ride into the arena the horse would kick at them. When the guy returned several people mentioned that he shouldn’t tie a kicking horse where people were entering through a gate and his response was that “he had been kicking my mare at the trailer so I had to move him over here.” I was told that another roper settled the disagreement out behind one of the trailers and when he was finished he was pretty sure the guy wouldn’t tie a kicking horse near other horses ever again.
We need to remember that team roping can be a dangerous sport... in fact just being around horses can be dangerous. Everyone who has roped or ridden for very long has been in a wreck of some sort or another. Many of the lower numbered team ropings are a real family event with dad, mom, and some of the older kids roping while the younger kids are roping the dummy with each other or playing with trucks and tractors in the sand. We need to be especially aware of any situations that might put them in danger as these wrecks can happen in a heartbeat.
     Often the wrecks that occur happen because the people involved had never even thought that a given situation might be dangerous. It is up to us as ropers and friends to keep our eyes open and if we see something that may be a wreck-waiting-to-happen, then offer assistance to prevent it. Probably want to be pretty diplomatic about it though – don’t want to end up out behind that trailer. Be safe and good luck at the next one...

 

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