It’s Why Horses? Wednesday.
When the horse loves his job, it’s magic.
I took this shot of the steer in the chute without registering the expression on the horse’s face. Could it be any clearer?
That horse wants that cow. The horse isn’t in the box, or in the hole. He’s standing in line. The horse absolutely knows not to move. The reins are dropped on his neck, his rider is adjusting the rope In fact, when the chute clangs open, the only thing the horse moves are his ears. This is a horse that loves his job. Steer looks pretty happy about the whole thing too. Gotta say, it was clear to me that some of those steers were looking forward to trying to outwit the ropers. Some were clueless, and some were all about giving those ropers a run for the money.
(Keep reading if you are interested in why we should ask lots and LOTS of questions when in Rome.)
A Jane “Oops” Moment
For reference: in photo, note the small electronic box on the rail. This is one of two electronic ‘eyes’ for the timer. (Jane did not know this. Let this be a lesson to Jane. Ask questions. Lots and lots of questions.) They create an invisible line in the sand, so to speak. Jane casually, mindlessly, walked through the barrier in front of 200 people, wrecking the time for a team, and disrupting the flow of the roping. The laser had to be reset, the team regrouped, and not one person said a rude word.
These guys get ONE shot: if they draw a good steer, have an amazing roping, and um, someone, wrecks the time registration on a good run, they have to try to repeat that with a new steer. Ropers are a polite and generous group of people. Unfortunately for Bella, she had already spread the word that Jane The Idiot was her friend, in order to allow Jane intimate access to ropers, horses, and prime shooting locations. I’m not positive, but I believe this gaff to be the equivalent, in the roping world, of accidentally walking outside naked. Who would do that?! It’s an impossible thing to forget: putting on your clothes. I think they were all horribly embarrassed for me. I’m positive they were embarrassed for Bella. (Yes, I was mortified once I understood.)
More on the timer:
Timing starts when the steer breaks the laser barrier. If a horse breaks it before the steer, 10 seconds are added to the run time. If two people on two horses manage to rope one steer and set him up in 6 seconds, adding 10 more seconds is the kiss of death: it turns a 6 second run into a 16 second run. No one wants to be responsible for doing THAT to the team.
I saw a 6 second run. It’s astounding.
One one-thousand, two one-thousand, three one-thousand, four one-thousand, five one-thousand, six one-thousand. Two people on two horses with two ropes just caught one steer and faced. Next time you’re on your horse, count out 6 seconds and imagine doing that with another horse and rider, and a steer that has zero interest in being caught.