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by Ryan Davis on 08/31/15

To the practice pen we go!


Each and every day ropers all across the country saddle up to practice their roping skills in order to hone their abilities to rope faster and more consistent. They load up their steer, break out their roping machines or just ride their horses, there are hundreds of practice options for ropers to do in order to get better. From pros to beginners the only way to the pay window is through hard work in the practice pen.


That brings us to the question for this month. With the price of roping cattle soaring more and more ropers are turning to roping machines. But, can these machines really aid your ability to get better? Doesn’t roping live cattle give you the most realistic practice? We went to our friend Bret Beach, at this month with the question; What is better to practice on – Live cattle or a roping machine? And we were surprised at his answer.


“It depends on what you want to do that day,” Bret answered. “There are times you need to rope live cattle, but really I get more out of roping a sled when I really want to work on different aspect of my roping.”


“A roping machine allows you to control the situation so much better letting you really practice on certain things,” he added. “If you want to work on your horse, your loop, delivery; it doesn’t matter if you’re a header or a heeler a roping sled allows you to do that much more efficiently.”


Today’s roping machines are designed to give you realistic roping options, but the great thing about the machines is you have total control over your practice. There is no guesswork about what the steer or your partner might do.


“Roping a machine really allows you to focus on what you want to practice,” said Bret. “You can control the speed, focus on your horse, and get everything right. You do not need to react to what a live steer might do throughout a run allowing you to totally focus. And, if it is not right you can stop and start again.”


Taking the steer equation out of the picture makes the difficulty of team roping go down. This is great for beginners and pros alike. There are hundreds of things you can do with a roping machine that you just cannot consistently work on with live cattle.


“I rope the sled a lot, especially when I need to work on certain aspects of my roping,” Bret admitted. “Everything becomes very simplified when you can control  everything throughout the run.”


Bret added that there is a time when you need to practice on live cattle, but gives some good advice on how to do this as well.


“Ropers do need to rope live cattle in order to prepare for the obstacles that can come up throughout a run, Bret said. “However, ropers need to rope a variety of cattle. If a guy has 10 steers, he or she needs to have three fast steers, three or four solid medium steers and a couple slow ones. A good variety of cattle to rope allows you to work on different aspects that may come up at a roping.”


Brett stated, “There is nothing worse than practicing on hard running cattle all the time and asking for your horse for his life every time.”


With the high price of roping cattle, many ropers are turning to roping machines for their practice sessions. According to Bret, this is a great option and allows ropers to really focus on certain aspects in a much more controlled environment. The need to rope live cattle is still a viable aspect of practice, but the option of a roping machine offers ropers quality practices that allows a roper to really focus.


“If ropers really focus and practice right on a roping machine they cannot only rope better, but really get their horse working better as well,” concluded Bret. “The difficulty goes way down allowing you to focus much more easily.”


High Oh, High Oh, its to the practice pen we go! But don’t forget to bring along for much more insight into the thousands of tips and the hundreds of instructional videos that they offer from some of the best in the business. Be sure to practice to get better with and also catch them TotalTeamRoping on RFD–TV for even more great ways to improve your roping!

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