Want to rope something? Do you have any rope handling skills? Do you know how to build a loop, what about catching a live bovine? Do you have any interest in learning how to throw different shots? Can you handle the coils of a rope proficiently, can you dally? Are you able to handle your rope correctly when leading another horse, or how well can you handle your rope and reins when dragging an object such as a pole or tire?
Is your horse safe to rope off of? How well does he navigate when you ride one handed when dallied? What if things speed up? Does your horse bend around your leg nicely, and how free is his hind end? Are you able to keep yourself out of trouble, or do you know when you are in trouble?
Are you confident that your horse will handle the pressure of a rope tight around his haunches, or under his tail? What if he stepped over the rope with his front feet? How would he react to the feel, or better yet, could you coil quickly enough and control your mount so that he does not step over the rope in the first place? What would happen if a rope got up between your horses hind legs?
Would he try to leave the country, kick frantically, or just step calmly like it was no big deal? Are you aware just how fast things can fall apart, from having no worries in the world to landing on your noggin’ in 2.3 seconds!
Roping a dummy or something live from our horse is fun and challenging, but I cannot emphasize enough the importance of learning things correctly and advancing our horsemanship in regards to roping. What we put into mastering different disciplines or how refined we want our horsemanship depends on who we pattern ourselves after, and how much time spent practicing our skills. In my opinion, one of the most important attributes is the ability to have an open mind and be able to change and look at things in a different light.
Like everything else a horseback, abilities vastly differ. Now in the case of handling a rope in its simplest task of coiling and building a loop, for the majority of us that have never even touched a rope, it is the feeling of 3 left thumbs! However, when shown the “how to” and with a lot of practice, it can become second nature. We must go from learning how to coil, build and throw different shots standing on the ground to where we are a horseback. Learning to do this straddling a horse now becomes a whole different animal and things become all fumbly again. We must gain the ability to handle our reins, the coils, and then eventually catch something. The goal is to go from the very basics to the point of navigating the rope, our horse and the cow. Practice and experience can keep us safe and the task becomes extremely enjoyable.
If any of this sounds like something you are ready to learn or get better at, grab a riding partner and set up some lessons or possibly a small private clinic. Maybe it’s time to advance your roping and horsemanship abilities to where you can multi-task. Who knows, you just might find that roping is your forte!