Breakaway ropers are moms, wives, students and professionals. But no matter how busy we are, if we want to succeed, we have to make time to rope the dummy.

Lately, because of so many other things in life—like being a wife and mother, training horses and teaching—I’ve let roping the dummy and having the rope in my hand take a back seat. And I saw the result of that with a less-than-successful California run that left me unhappy with my roping.

Jackie Crawford Dummy Roping
Crawford likes to rope the Smarty from an elevated position to recreate the proper angles when roping a calf horseback. Photo Courtesy Smarty

Identifying the Problem

I’ve noticed that I have way less rope control than I had. I don’t feel the rope like I did. I’ve lacked the discipline to spend the time roping and having the rope in my hand. Time is so limited right now, so I focus on my family, my horses, my rodeo schedule and the endless to-do lists. But just because I’m at a certain point in my roping doesn’t mean I can quit covering those fundamental bases. There’s no such thing as being too good or winning too much to rope the dummy.

As a kid when I was learning, I was always roping the dummy. Then, as training horses became my priority as my career progressed, I roped so much during the day that I could really feel my rope and control my rope without roping the dummy daily.

But now, I don’t get to ride or rope as much as I used to. I don’t have a rope in my hand all day. And I still haven’t been making the time to rope the dummy as much as I did. 

Jackie Crawford’s Dummy Roping Reboot Plan

To get my fundamentals and rope control back in line, I will spend at least 30 minutes on the Smarty. First I will rope close. Then I will rope from my normal position, and then I’ll reach. I’ll rope from right to left, and then I’ll focus on left hand drills.

I’ll probably throw 60-70 loops. I don’t want to get sore or hurt myself, but I want to give 30 minutes to roping the dummy. I want to just feel the rope.

Right now, as I’m trying to work on things, I enjoy roping it by myself. It’s my quiet, sanctuary time. I keep the kids while everyone else is in town, and let the kids play outside while I rope the dummy. I have the quiet time to think about it in my head and focus on things and just rope.