Pushing the Barrier by Speed Williams – October 20130
Many of you will be heading to Oklahoma City later this month for the USTRC Finals. Between the cost of fuel, entry fees, stalls, and other various expenses this is not a cheap trip for most people. That’s why it’s important to be prepared in order to have the best possible chance of winning. That is the whole reason for going.
One thing Rich and I used to do regularly was to set up our practice arena to match the scenario of the arena we would be competing in. During the winter we would set up a small arena that matched the buildings. Then in the summer it would change to match the bigger arenas at the outdoor rodeos. According to Mike Qualls, the main arena in OKC is 230’ from the front of the chute to the back of the arena.
Keep in mind that the chute is angled slightly to the right to give ropers a longer distance to catch up to the cow. If you don’t prepare for this and your horse runs straight and won’t move to the right, it’s going to be difficult to make a nice run.
It’s important to get there a day early to have the opportunity to ride in the arena during the evenings, especially if your horse has never been there before. He needs the chance to be introduced to the lights and become comfortable in the arena.
One of the biggest mistakes I see ropers make is taking for granted the importance of their horse being in shape and feeling good. If you want your horse to perform well, you have to take care of them. How many of you will trailer them for many hours and then throw a couple of bags of shavings in the concrete stall and call it good? Don’t scrimp on the shavings. I recommend five to seven bags per stall – and then clean them every day. I hate buying shavings but it’s not optional for me. My wife also puts Soft-Ride Equine Comfort Boots on our horses any time they have to spend time on hard ground.
It’s unfair to your horse to leave him in the stall and only pull him out when you’re going to rope on him. Your horses need to get out every day and ridden and exercised.
Please don’t pull your horse up the week before the finals, after he’s been off for two months, and then run 10 to 15 steers every night. He is an athlete and needs to be conditioned. You can’t practice just the last few nights without him getting sore. Then when you get to the finals he’s sore, quick and not working. You need to give him time to get in shape so he can perform to the best of his ability. Most horses are a big investment, and should be treated as such.
What’s new with me: I can’t remember when I’ve had as much fun as I did today. My family and I got up early and spent the morning in the roping pen. I rode three head horses, Jennifer rode three heel horses, Hali roped on Randy, and Gabe roped on Blackie. I love to rope, ride nice horses and spend time with my family. Any time I can do all three at the same time is a blessing.
Look for us at the speedroping.com booth at the USTRC Finals. There will be a drawing for a free one-day clinic at my house for you and your partner. When you sign up for a free membership at speedroping.com, make sure the “Join Mail List” box is checked on your profile. Then go to the home page and enter the drawings that interest you.