Team Roping: Nope. Doesn’t Look Like Dressage

For relevance, see Hudson.  Good horsemanship and good riding have a lot in common, even if the end result looks very different.  There are significant differences between roping horses and dressage horses, but I think we could learn a lot from each other.

Team Roping: Brandon Beers & Jade Corkill

Header has roped the steer – note the header’s horse is on a left lead canter while wrapped around the rider’s right leg.

If you look at the header’s body weight placement, he’s just on the edge of weighting his seat to the right to cue his horse to flip around and ‘face’ the steer: as soon as he knows the heeler has it.

I say “on the edge” of giving the cue, because his job is to rope the steer’s head, keep galloping, AND set the steer up in such a way that it gives the best possible shot for the heeler to rope the hind feet.

Any corrections, Bella??

Photo from Pendleton Round-up by Bob Click.

Riders: Brandon Beers and Jade Corkill.


One thought on “Team Roping: Nope. Doesn’t Look Like Dressage

  1. theliteraryhorse Post author

    Bella emailed me to tell me I picked a good photo to illustrate team roping dynamics.

    I saw a photo of her and Hudson today that I think made it even clearer…her rope is curling onto the steers horns, Hudson is wrapped around her right leg but has the correct neck and head bend for a left lead canter, he’s hitting the brakes but ready to spring forward, he’s given her his back (he’s coming ‘through’ in the way a roping horse should), and her reins are soft.

    I’m not trying to make this into dressage: his head is in the air to free up his shoulders in case he needs to shove off, and he’s ready to brace because that’s part of his job. Roping is not a sport designed to showcase the power, rhythm, and *relaxation* of your horse!

    And yet that photo, with him under Bella in that intense, listening, catlike crouch, reminds me of that ultra collection moment in dressage, when you’ve brought the horse completely up and beneath you into a condensed ball of energy that’s ready to go into whatever movement you send it into.

    Being the low level dressage rider that I am, I’ve only felt that intensity a few times. And one of the horses I was able to get completely underneath me, through and electric…was a roping horse.

    Don’t you think it would be interesting to swap around every now and again?


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