Team Roping Without Cattle

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training

Team roping is fun, but owning or leasing sport cattle is expensive. Buying a team roping dummy that can be pulled behind an ATV is a great solution for team ropers who want to practice at home without breaking the bank.

Well, the initial investment is a bit steep – think around $2,000-$3,000 for one of the leading pro-endorsed models. But once the dummy is purchased, it doesn’t require hay, water, a brand inspection, its own living facilities, or vet care. Modern technology for the win!

Besides the basic pull-the-dummy-around-in-a-circle-and-rope-it drill that everyone knows, these sleds can also be used to simulate actual team roping runs. Here, Cindy gets her gray horse set in the heading box.

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Does she know the chute is empty? Did she forget that she decided to forego the expense of maintaining live cattle this year?

Um, Cindy…

Oh, good, here comes Rod and the  Heel-O-Matic!

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And with a burst of speed, Andrew flew out of the heeling box alongside Cindy. In this situation, the heeler can take a break from reading cattle and hazing and just focus on his horse’s position, his swing and delivery.

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Cindy caught slick horns (because that’s what she does) and Andrew swooped in to pick up two feet.

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Rod kept a watchful eye on the ropers during the run to ensure he turned left and stopped at the correct time. Otherwise, the whole works could’ve ended up in a two-horse, three-person, one-ATV, one-dummy pile-up.

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And that would’ve been more of a highly entertaining spectator sport than a team roping drill that is beneficial to all participants.

After roping the Heel-O-Matic, Andrew stopped his horse and dallied, reinforcing this aspect of roping for both his muscle memory and his horse.

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Another benefit of using a green plastic dummy instead of a live animal: Beginning ropers have a chance to learn about and practice riding into the correct position. Tracking the dummy, stopping when it stops, and always turning your horse away to the right are basic exercises that lay the foundation for successful roping experiences later in life.

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So, don’t be discouraged if owning and maintaining live cattle aren’t in the cards for you. Practicing position, timing, and delivery with a pull-behind roping dummy can reinforce essential roping basics for ropers and horses of all levels. There’s a reason the pros use them.

Posted in: Featured, Horse Training


About Jolyn Young

Jolyn Young lives on Mann Lake Ranch in eastern Oregon with her husband and their two small kids. For more, visit www.jolynyoung.com....

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