Keeping Your Kid’s Horses Working
Written by: Speed Williams< Back to Articles
When kids like to rope and want to run a lot of steers, it’s often difficult to keep their horses working well. That’s one of the reasons we built the Speed Trainer. I wanted my kids to use their hands and feet better and improve their riding without the wear and tear on their horses.
Sometimes my sons’ heel horses don’t stop correctly. When I watch him on video, he’s squeezing, not pulling, and leaning to throw his rope and his horses aren’t stopping. Usually when this happens people want to change bridles, but the problem is if your hands and feet aren’t working together correctly – you are sending mixed signals to your horse. If you don’t ride correctly it’s hard to create a heel shot.
With Gabe, watching him on video really exposes the problems. He’ll ask what he didn’t wrong and my answer never changes, “watch the video.” There are many factors involved in missing and it’s important to determine the cause. Yes, you may hit the front legs, but why? Was it your horses’ fault, was it the angle of your swing, your delivery, or did your head let the steer drift? Heeling is hard because there’s so many equations involved in every run and you have to be processing each run as it happens. It’s a reaction to an action and you need to know all the equations to get your rope in front of the hind feet.
It’s amazing how some heelers can look like a #7 or #8 one day and then can’t catch the next. It’s usually because you ran too many on your horse the day before and now he’s a little strong. You can’t get in position, you’re fighting him and unable to heel. One thing I do with Gabe is he is supposed to stop his horse at least once in every pen of steers. When the head rope goes on the cow and he turns, I want him to stop his horse. When his horse starts getting strong and wanting to cut to the cow I will ask him how many times he’s stopped him to remind him to stay in his hand. It’s amazing how much of a difference it makes in his horse if he does this just once each pen.
When you’re pulling on your horse and fighting him in the corner, trying to get in position, then you’re leaned back and your tip comes up. It’s hard to swing your rope very fast when you’re fighting your horse. If you don’t get a good entry to the corner lots of bad things can happen.
I’ve done a few schools teaching kids using the Speed Trainer now. It’s hard for most of them to kick, swing, have weight in their stirrups, and not pull on the reins which lights up the Speed Trainer. When you’re pulling on your horse while swinging your rope you’re teaching him to run through the bridle. It’s hard to improve your roping if you can’t guide your horse to the cow correctly. It’s been amazing how fast some of these kids improved their riding in just three days. To see the it in action visit speedroping.com or for availability information call Colter Buck at 903-434-8970.