Training a horse for roping is challenging and not for everyone. Many times, it is also frustrating, especially if you are impatient. It is crucial to build a solid foundation for the fundamental techniques. It takes time, so do not be in a rush to see results. You won’t see progress overnight, and this should not be a cause of concern.
Teaching proper roping techniques helps in building trust and teaching the horse to not panic in different situations. It also entails making the horse comfortable with roping, making it easier to unleash its optimal performance. If you are clueless about how to do this, keep on reading and learn from some of the insights we’ll be sharing.
Start with Yourself
What most people fail to understand is that training a horse for roping is not just all about the horse. Rather, it is also all about yourself. Before anything else, make sure that you know how to handle a rope properly and that you are comfortable when it is held. You must be able to loop and coil a rope smoothly. This is one thing that takes practice, so make sure to get yourself used to it before you teach roping to a horse.
Make the Horse Familiar with the Rope
Before training the basics, another important thing is for the horse to be familiar with the rope that you are using. A simple way to do this is to rub the rope on the body of the horse, using it like a brush. Pay attention to the specific parts where the rope is ticklish. Work on these portions, which will help in making the horse more confident.
Pull a Weight
Once the rope is comfortable with you and a rope, consider attaching an object that it will pull as it moves. This can be a log, tire, or similar object available. Start with something lightweight and gradually make it heavier as the horse becomes more comfortable in dragging an object. Teach the horse how to drag the object forward and backward. Next, it must move the object in circles. While doing this, the rope attached to the object will rub the horse’s body in different parts. This is one more way by which the horse can have a better familiarization of the rope.
Train with a Calf
To prepare the horse for the actual roping, then you should have a calf on the ground. This is going to teach the horse how to track. Start by having a calf in the middle of the field and allow the horse to get near it. Next, allow the calf to move, making sure that the horse is following its direction. Whether the calf is heading left or right, the horse should also be headed in the same way. Do not start throwing a rope until the horse is comfortable chasing the calf. It might take time, but it is necessary to wait.
Teach the Horse to be Responsive
The movements of the horse will be highly crucial on how it performs in roping. It is important that it is responsive to your body. There should be full coordination between the rider and the horse. The two should be moving together in rhythm to achieve the desired outcome. As you shift the weight of your body, the horse must respond accordingly. Use the weight of your stirrups to regulate the movements of the horse. This way it is easier to make sure that the horse is following the calf.
Build a Loop
This is an important part of roping training as it allows the horse to recognize the rope. Start by building a small loop and show it to the horse, making sure that the latter sees how it can potentially grow bigger. Hold the rope in your left hand and form a coil using your right hand. Extend your arm on the side, allowing your horse to reach the rope but while making sure that it is comfortable with such action. Practice throwing the rope and make sure that your horse is paying attention. It must follow the direction of the rope. You should also use your body and movements to direct the horse where exactly you want it to go.
Divide and Conquer
One of the secrets for teaching roping techniques effectively is to not overwhelm the horse. Like humans, horses cannot process a lot of things at a time, which is exactly why you need to divide the training into different parts. Start with the most basic. As mentioned above, you need to start acclimating yourself and the horse. Do the training chronologically so that the horse can improve on the most fundamental skills before it learns the next.
Take a Rest
Rope training is going to be stressful, not just for you but for the horse as well. So, take a break when necessary. Do not exert too much pressure on the horse. Do not swing the loop to the point that the horse is giving up. Learn how to read signals so that you will know when it is time to take a break. This is also a good way to teach the horse that it isn’t time to hustle every time that you are swinging a rope.
If you have always wanted to teach roping to a horse, get ready! This isn’t going to be a straightforward process. As noted in this short post, it should be divided into parts. The start should be being familiar with the process and acclimating the horse to the feel of the rope. After this, you can move to more advanced training, such as allowing the horse to pull an object and chase a calf. The most complicated parts of training should be the last part. Do this only once you are confident that the horse has already built a solid foundation.