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Breakaway Roping

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Submitted By saramaemcrae6
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“Practice does not make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect,” says every roper I’ve ever known. The practice pen is somewhere that you choose to either be the best you can be or just average. Practicing is very important, not only to our sport but to any sport known to man. Your first and most common thing to work on in Breakaway Roping is horsemanship. Horsemanship is what carries you to success. Secondly, scoring your calf correctly can differentiate a winning run from being outran. Without being able to score your calf our correctly you will not be able to get a good start, and that is very important. Last are Loop Mechanics ; how you swing, follow through, and pull your slack. Good horsemanship in breakaway roping allows you to make high percentage shots every time because you're in the same position every run. Horsemanship allows you to give your horse consistent repetition so he gives you the same shot every time you come out of the box. In breakaway roping, your start is almost everything because you've just got to be so fast. And the start you get depends on your level of horsemanship. Your horse has to be so good and still in the box, and you've got to have the feel to make that happen. You need to have your horse still and calm enough to leave in a straight line the second you drop your hand forward and hit the barrier strong. When you're riding your horses to the best of your ability, you're keeping your horse between your bridle reins and your legs. You aren't moving your hands much over his neck, but moving your horse with your legs instead. This increases your ability to control every part of your horse with your body position. Scoring is a very crucial part of breakaway roping. My secret to a great start in breakaway roping (and any kind of roping, for that matter) is training my horses to really score and react off my hand. Very generally, you let the calf make the first move, then you and your horse move. Because the length of the score and your timing leaving the box varies from situation to situation, your horse has to be on the bridle and listening to your hand and feet to know when to leave . If your horse isn't responding properly to your hand, when you pull he pops up or tosses his head, you aren't going to get a good start. Your horse has to be responsive to the bridle, otherwise he'll pop up when you pull on him. That will take away that good, flat start you need. Teaching your horse to leave flat off of your hand is key. In the practice pen, hold your horse still. Hold him with tension on the reins so he's on the bridle. Then, drop your hand really quick and squeeze with your legs, teaching him to move forward off of those two important cues. All of these things lead you to better scoring abilities. Loop mechanics in breakaway roping are built over years of consistent, quality practice roping live calves and the dummy. Loop size, tip angle, arm and wrist position, and most importantly, momentum, all affect your ability to catch every time you nod your head. Here are some fundamental elements to perfecting your swing. Loop size: Loop size depends on whether or not you feed your rope, so size can vary. But, as a rule, I teach that you should stand on the tip of your rope and stretch it up to your head or a little above it. That will generally give you the size of loop you need. Tip angle: The tip of the rope is what catches, so you've got to be sure you're aiming your tip at the calf's head, downward. Arm and wrist position: To get your tip aiming downward, your arm must be in an ‘L' position straight out from your shoulder, with your forearm and hand directly above your elbow. If your hand is below your elbow, you can't get enough momentum on your tip going downward. Momentum: Momentum is crucial, because it's what actually puts your rope on the calf (or the steer in team roping, too). Too often, people focus on ‘throwing' their rope rather than swinging it. If you are concerned with throwing, you swing and then change your swing to throw it, losing momentum and preventing your rope from wrapping around the calf. Rather, you should be swinging your rope and releasing it in the direction of the calf, keeping up your momentum the whole way through your release. These are all very specific reasons why practice is a very important asset to what we do as Breakaway Ropers. I have had many teachers, but I have learned the most lessons from myself. Its all about how you react to situations, whether it’s a good or bad one. When I have healthy sound horses I try to practice as much as possible because as I have said many times before, “Nobody gets anywhere without a little luck, and a lot of practice.” Rain or shine, with a little dedication anything is possible. With all of these tools you will be able to do anything you put your mind to!…...

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