My teaching philosophy
I have been teaching people how to rope since I was a kid. When I was young my dad trained and sold rope horses. We had a lot of customers come to Florida from the north who wanted to learn to rope and buy a horse. So, we needed to teach people who had never ridden or swung a rope how to be able to catch. One of the hardest things to learn is to put weight in the stirrups instead of sitting in the saddle. If you are sitting in the saddle, you can’t be up coming across the line. If you can ride the stirrups and put weight in them, your knees and legs absorb the pounding your horse gives you coming across the line.
We do a lot of trotting and swinging a rope at the same time. It’s important to learn to balance, put weight in the stirrups, and swing your rope. So many low numbered headers struggle riding across the line. They tend to pull on the reins when they leave the box to balance themselves. That’s one of the reasons we built the Speed Trainer: To teach people to swing and rope at the correct angles while having their hands and feet in the correct position.
Roping a dummy on the ground creates incorrect muscle memory which makes it hard to transition to roping horseback. One foot is usually forward and your left hand tends to rein out to the left when you pull your slack. With the Speed Trainer we are creating angles that are close to life like, with your legs side by side and the horse’s head in the way. If you’re “balancing” on the reins the Speed Trainer has alarms that will go off and let you know.
In all my years of teaching, I’ve found that young kids and mature, successful men both have trouble accepting what I say at face value. It doesn’t matter that I’ve won eight titles or what I’ve accomplished. When I tell them something they don’t just naturally accept it. However, once they see it on video and understand what we’re trying to accomplish, it clicks for them and my job becomes much easier. Most people have trouble accepting they are doing so many things incorrectly.
Breaking bad habits is much easier when they can see it for themselves. That’s why in my schools we always start out with first time clients giving them scenarios and seeing how they execute. For example: they are high team and have to be 11-seconds; then 9-seconds; 7-seconds and then 5-seconds to win. There are different ways to go about each of those runs.
Then we find out where the weakness is and what their strong suit is. Whatever is going to eliminate you in the roping is what we need to work on. Is it the steer that runs left, runs right, the slow steer, or the runner? You must prepare for all the obstacles you will face when you show up at the roping. That comes down to preparation and how to practice in order to eliminate your weakness.
With today’s technology if you’ve never seen yourself on video, you really need to step back and think about how much time and money you put into this roping without studying what you need to do to get better. If you don’t enjoy losing, you need to put time and effort into preparing so you have a better chance at success. Most of the time when people are struggling, it’s their horsemanship that keeps them from improving.
I have been fortunate that both my kids love to rope. It makes what I do for a living so much more enjoyable when my kids are there and I can teach them things about life while we’re working at their roping. People ask all the time if I get tired of teaching. Most clients come to my house in small groups for private lessons. I’m very fortunate to teach something that I love and am passionate about. One of the things I work on all the time with my kids is understanding what the horse is trying to tell you and to realize when they are sore and not feeling good.
What’s new with me: Gabe’s heeling continues to improve. The last couple of weekends he has roped outstanding but not won any money. But, I was prouder of his heeling than the times he’s won money. It’s starting to look more controlled. We’ve been having a lot of heelers for lessons. It’s so much harder to get better at heeling than heading. Without good spins it’s very difficult to break bad habits. That’s made the Speed Trainer handy in teaching heeler body and hand position and dallying. If you can’t do it correctly sitting still, it’s very hard to do it moving.
Don’t forget!! We’re giving a Speed Trainer away this Christmas. All you have to do is submit a video at speedtrainergiveaway.com of you roping on one. My goal is to get people on a Speed Trainer to see how it will help them improve. If you know someone who has a Speed Trainer, go rope on it and have someone film you. There are also several dealers in Texas like NRS, Teskeys, Coopers in Stephenville, and Wheelers in Boerne. Check my website for a list of dealers.