So, you got your new Speed Trainer… now what?


Breaking it Down by Speed Williams – March 2024

I’m happy to report we have good news about Hali’s road to recovery. We recently took her to a specialist in Houston who told her the tendon she injured will take eight months to two years to completely heal. This injury is pretty rare and short of a major accident she won’t reinjure the tendon. However, after two years if it’s not healed, she may need surgery.

She tried to rope a couple of times this year and due to pain, was afraid she was causing more damage. But after the good news from the specialist, she’s been out practicing and roping quite a bit. I’ve had a lot of lessons lately. We’ve been running a pen of steers, then a pen of calves and do this a couple times before watching the video and breaking it all down. She’s been riding all the horses that could possibly make a breakaway horse. She’s excited to get back on the trail and we are currently at a jackpot in Glen Rose, on a Wednesday night, where they have 60 girls entered.

Gabriel has been working on his heading quite a bit. He’s been getting on the Speed Trainer by himself and trying to work through a few things. Smarty has been selling quite a few Speed Trainers lately. The Speed Trainer now comes with a QR Code painted on the shoulder that will take customers to videos that show how to use the machine.

I enjoy getting messages from people telling me they’ve finally got one. Now is when I have to remind them this is a training tool and not to get frustrated when the lights keep going off. It’s just a fact that ropers in general, breakaway, tie down, and team ropers, don’t realize how much they unintentionally pull on their horse for balance.

Even when sitting still on the Speed Trainer, people pull themselves up by the reins when they stand up to rope. I often put the dummy very close to the Speed Trainer where you have to learn to stand up and rope. This helps, especially with the World Series barrier, where it’s easy to get out on top of the steer.

The main purpose of the Speed Trainer is to improve your riding. It’s hard to believe how many headers from #7+ on down struggle with roping the dummy close and not pulling on their horse or using their legs. I move the dummy all around like playing “around the world” in basketball. This is to find where peoples’ weaknesses are.

The Speed Trainer has four lights: a green, two yellows, and a red. Three seconds after your run is complete the lights will light up according to how hard you pulled on the reins. Green is ideal with red being the worst. The machine is impartial and doesn’t lie, even though most people don’t want to believe they’re pulling on the reins.

Your horse should leave off the release of pressure, so the Speed Trainer is designed with a green light lit up when there’s slight tension or pressure on the reins. One of the simplest drills I use is once the light is green, I say “Ready, set, go” and you drop the reins, stand in the saddle with your weight in the stirrups, butt up out of the seat while swinging your rope… all at the same time. Two swings and rope. Once you dally, you stop the clock. A #3 should be able to do this in under 3 seconds. A #4 should be able to do it in 2.5 seconds. A #6 and above in under 2 seconds. That means you have to swing your rope fast and dally fast.

I’m trying to teach ropers how to have a feel for their horse and understand how much pressure they’re putting on your horse during the run. Some people try and justify the lights going off when they dally by telling me they want to pull on their horse when they dally. I want them to learn to rope with only their right arm. It’s important, and difficult, to learn to ride with just your left hand and rope with just the right. Most people use them together.

So many team ropers get frustrated with their horse for not working correctly. They want to change bridles all the time without realizing it’s actually pilot error. They just don’t realize how many cues they are giving their horse during the run through the bridle reins. To make any significant improvement in roping you have to learn to ride your horse as well as you possibly can. Improvement doesn’t happen overnight, and it takes some time before being able to rope without setting off the lights on the Speed Trainer. Learning to ride better, and ultimately rope better, is what the Speed Trainer is built for. As you learn to ride better, your horse will respond and work better, and hopefully take you to the pay window more often.


  1. I remember people telling me the same thing your saying about using my left hand too much. They made me hook my little finger in my first belt loop. That showed me how much i was doing and not realizing it. Keep on teaching proper technique. Looking forward to seeing you spin some more for Gabe.


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