Anatomy of a Team Roping

This is Bella, as the header, on Hudson.  My camera shoots 6 frames a second.  If I remember correctly, this was an 8 second run.  I thought it might be fun to see it broken down in seconds…

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The slide show takes approximately 25 seconds to watch, to give you a sense of how fast this sport is.  It was finished in less than half the time it took to watch this.

7 thoughts on “Anatomy of a Team Roping

  1. Wow! This is so cool and what a great idea! I’d never known this much about cattle work before. The camera technique is a great idea too, something I’d love to try with a number of disciplines…ever tried to catch a barrel run this way?

    1. I’d love to try. I don’t know anyone who runs barrels, but I bet Bella does. There isn’t a horse sport I wouldn’t want to shot. Well, maybe not the polo with the dead goat. Can’t remember what part of the world that is.

      Bella’s mom and dad coached me for shooting ropings: don’t try to catch them coming out of the box (though it makes for some great art photos!). No one wants a shot of themselves NOT roping a cow. 🙂

      In this instance, I’m in the arena, behind a barrel, close enough to climb the rails if need be. No one can predict where the steer is going to run, and yes, we all had to scramble for the rail at least twice!

      I shot for my trainer while she was working on (dressage) canter pirouette timing, b/c it wasn’t working. Video didn’t help. Stop action photography showed what was going on. She said it helped a lot.

  2. Wow. I have a whole new respect for my burger. Seriously, between this and cutting, I can’t imagine a more complex way to get fed.

    Hudson seems to be a pretty incredible horse, but I’ve heard many ropers aren’t very good with their horses. Why is that? It looks like you’d have to be.

    1. Hudson is 21 years old in these photos, taken last fall. He’s also a working cow horse. Bella helps out on friends ranches during branding/herding season, and yup, they rope the steers on the ranch.

      As for ropers being hard on their horses, I think it’s like any horse sport: there are careful people who learn what a horse in their sport needs to be happy/healthy and support them every way possible, and people who will run them into the ground.

      Bella has a lot of horse knowledge: she’s worked in the industry her entire life, and was an FEI level dressage rider before pursuing roping. Prior to that, she did Eventing.

      At various ropings I’ve seen people I wouldn’t want near a horse, and people I would welcome in a heartbeat. Same for dressage shows.

      I’m going to guess this may be true at the lower levels – people not so good with horses – of any horse sport? It takes time to understand what you don’t know, and not everyone is patient and willing to wait on participating until they really get it.

      Any ropers out there want to add anything?

    2. Well, ropers do get a bad rap. And like Jane says, there are two different sides to each story. The “old school” ropers never trotted their horses, nor did they EVER lope/canter to the right. The theory was that way the horse only knew how to be on the left lead (which is what you need during the run). But like many other sports, the “art” of roping has evolved, and the horsemanship aspect has really come around. You will see a lot more ropers warming their horses up at the trot, loping on both leads, doing bending and flexing exercises. There are still the dreaded cinch up, step on, gallop two laps to the left, and back in the box kid out there…but they are getting fewer & fewer!! (thank goodness) World champions are writing articles about how important horsemanship is, and if you were to go to a roping today vs. 10 years ago, things have definitly improved.

    1. I know! I taught myself to hit the shutter the second I hear the metallic clang of the chute opening, and Bella still managed to rope and dally that steer before my camera caught up with the action. She was already starting the set up for the heeler in the 1st pic.

      One interesting thing to note for all us dressage or working horse divas: Hudson is cantering on the L lead, wrapped around her R leg, AND she’s cueing him to canter haunches out: insuring the the rope stays off her inside leg (OW) and Hudson.

      It also sets Hudson up for “facing”, the flip turn the header has to do to stretch out the steer and stop the clock. You can see Hudson doing it his own way: he stopped on the hind (camera missed that second), then threw his weight on his front end and flipped his rear around, his hind feet are off the ground.

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