Getting through the slumps
Pushing the Barrier – by Speed Williams
No matter who you are, or what sport you compete in, you will have highs and lows. What will get you through it is the foundation you have, both with your horse and your roping. It’s always been my policy to work on my weaknesses. For me, that’s scoring and reacting to my steer. My strong points are being able to control my rope, and that allows me to overcome a lot of obstacles.
Now days there are lots of guys who rope really well. Those who win consistently are the guys with nice horses. There will be times even the best mounted ropers won’t be able to overcome the steer they draw. But being prepared to overcome problems when you nod your head can make all the difference.
There have been times in my career where I’ve backed in the box knowing that my horse didn’t like going left, and if the steer went left, I was going to have to overcome that. I’ve had a variety of horses with particular weaknesses and I would try not to put them in that situation until they were ready. But there are times when you’re forced to compete on a horse before that time comes. It’s no different than a football player that gets thrown in the game before he’s ready.
These weaknesses are what you need to work on until you feel confident. It’s easy to practice the things you and your horse do well, but it’s never as productive as working on what you don’t do well.
Five obstacles you may encounter during a team roping run are:
- Steer doesn’t start
- Steer goes left
- Steer goes right
- Steer runs hard
- Steer slows up
It’s rare to go to a roping and not draw steers with some of these traits. If your horse is not prepared to overcome them, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Last week Rich and I had a roping school where Chris Cox taught horsemanship. I have to admit that when Chris said he was going to start with groundwork I was a little skeptical. I didn’t understand how that would be helpful.
Chris took a horse I’ve been riding that is goosey, has lots of booger and is flighty on the ground. Within twenty minutes, Chris taught this horse to freeze his feet and not to fear his stick with the flag on the end. Watching Chris do this taught me how a horse thinks. I can tell some of the groundwork will translate well when I’m riding and will be very beneficial.
I have a burning desire to get better with my horses. The better I understand how my horse thinks, the faster I can teach them and the better I can do. Chris talked about controlling your horse so you can overcome obstacles that happen during your run.
The way to make it through a slump is understand the weaknesses in both you and your horse, and work to eliminate them so they don’t cost you when you leave home. It’s a horrible feeling to back in the box and know if your steer runs left that you don’t have much of a chance. You have to prepare your mind and your horse in order to overcome. This helps build the foundation needed to help you through the hard times.
What’s new with me: This weekend we’re going to the Windy Ryon in Ft. Worth where Jennifer will heel in the All-Girl and I’ll rope in the Open on Friday.
We have been focused on Jennifer’s heeling for quite some time now. We had agreed she needed to leave the head ropes alone and work solely on her heeling. I had some heeling runs in the World Series roping and needed to practice. I asked her to head some steers for me in the practice pen…. Now I’ve lost two of my head horses. It’s really okay because she can win a lot more heading and she’s having a lot fun. She will still heel in the low numbered ropings and we’ll still work on that, but it’s important to have fun.
We now have over 15,050 videos online. At speedroping.com there’s everything from the family roping, pro’s that come practice with me, to me competing at jackpots. You can watch over 100 short rounds of ropings where I’ve competed. If you get a chance visit us at speedroping.com.