Ride a Solid Horse (Down the Line, Stran Smith)

Recently, I was asked why some people progress faster than others when learning to rope. There can be number of reasons, but usually the most obvious is the horse they’re riding. It’s pretty common to see a youngster or novice show up at a school riding a young horse that doesn’t know any more than they do. This is the worst possible scenario for learning and a recipe for disaster. Neither will enjoy it and it’s impossible to learn and teach a horse when you don’t know what you’re doing.

Sometimes, novice ropers show up to a school with high-powered $20,000 horses. Riding an open caliber, expensive horse will not make you learn any faster. In fact, the horse will more than likely be ruined and the kid will get discouraged. I wouldn’t let my boys learn on Destiny. First, she would run out from under them, and if they happened to stay on, she would probably throw them over her head when she stopped. You wouldn’t dream of teaching your kid to drive in a Ferrari.

Recently, at one of my schools, there was a young man riding one of the best little horses I’ve ever seen. He didn’t stand out as a kid who had grown up with a rope in his hand. But, by the second day, he hadn’t missed a calf and it was obvious to me that a lot of it was due to his horse. This horse couldn’t necessarily run like the wind, but he just did everything right for him. In fact, he reminded me a lot of the horse I rode at the finals. This horse scored like a post and when he dropped his hand, the horse took off. He was just a great solid little horse and this is exactly what you’re looking for as a parent or novice.

You need an older horse to learn on that will go do the same thing every time. When riding a solid horse, you will have more fun, and the more fun you have, the better you will get. I’ve bought more than one horse in my career that was over 21 and paid pretty big money for them. If you take good care of them, they’ll last as good as a young horse, sometimes better.

Find someone you trust in this business to help you find this kind of horse. People think they can’t afford this kind of horse when in reality there are horses getting older every day that need a good home.

Until next time, God Bless, and I’ll see you down the line. If there’s anything you would like me to write about, drop me an email at strant@aol.com.