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The Struggles Of Heelers The fact is it’s difficult to improve without consistent practice and for heelers that means having good, consistent handles of their steers. The best practice tool is a machine where you can work on your position, corner, and target. I prefer the legs move so that you must be in time to catch. However, when roping steers behind lower numbered headers, it’s very difficult to get consistent turns. The handle is the responsibility of the header and if done correctly, gives his partner the best chance to catch the steer.

There are times when I cause my heeler to miss. If I’m riding a young or green horse, often I’ll turn the steer’s head loose while working on my horse’s footing. This breaks the stride of the steer and causes the heeler’s timing to get out of sync. Believe me headers, the last thing I want to do is give ammunition to heelers who like to blame their headers. But the truth is if the steer isn’t handled correctly, it’s usually the header’s fault, at any level.

This is not uncommon when someone is riding a green or new horse, and they don’t have control of their horse’s footwork. Many times headers come to my house for lessons and tell me that people can’t catch behind them. Often they think their partners are trying too hard. Then we film and watch the video to figure out why their heelers can’t catch. When you watch a video frame by frame, it exposes the real reason.

On speedroping.com I’m currently working on a series of drills for headers and their horses. Currently we’re on Drill #11 which is about getting a head horse to do his footwork correctly. It shows the importance of where your feet are and what they need to do in order to handle the steer correctly.

It’s not just about the bridle reins. You have to control the side of the horse as well. If you cannot side pass and move your horse around, you’re going to have a difficult time handling steers correctly. What’s new with me: Gabe is playing select baseball on a team in Granbury. Hali is playing select ball on a 14 & under team and she’s just 11. They are still roping but they enjoy playing ball while getting stronger and understanding competing.

I think it’s important for them to learn the mental aspects of playing sports. Gabe has been turning steers. Hali has been roping at jackpots and will be competing in Stephenville soon. For information on ERA rodeos, you can find a link to it on speedroping.com. blog provided by FastBackRopes

Speed Williams

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