I put emphasis on my horse's position in the corner and his body as he crosses the line in order to keep control throughout the run. 

In the Corner

I want my horse’s nose and shoulders pointed just behind the pin. I like my horse’s nose tipped to the right just a little, to keep his right shoulder picked up. That gives me control over when they leave. To me, I want almost a C-shape in his body, but not quite that exaggerated. That bend in his nose, shoulders and ribs helps insure I get the right lead when I leave. I use my right spur into him until I drop my hand. I do not use my left leg. I usually have my left leg off of my horse all together. By keeping my horse snug and pulled back tight in the corner, I keep them from spinning out and developing that habit in the first place. They shouldn’t have so much pressure that their butt wants to spin out of the corner to the left.

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Rattler Viper 

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Erin Johnson WPRA World Champion Breakaway Roper

Erin Johnson at the 2015 WPRA Finals winning the breakaway roping world title. 

In the Bridle

When my body leaves, that’s when I want my horse to leave. I hold him pretty tight, and I want a lot of control there across the line. If I want to float my horse, I want to be able to float him. I don’t ride with a bridle that allows my pressure and release to be instant like some other women do. I expect my horse to run as hard as he can when I ask him for it with my body and with my feet. When I pick myself up and my reins up, I want him to rate without ceasing his forward motion. 

To the Calf 

It’s not a straight line. He’s breaking to the pin but falling back to the right to be straight in behind the calf. I like my horses to be straight behind the calf, off to the right hip more than the left hip. Once your horse moves into more of a team roping position, it’s hard to have the right angle on your rope. My preference is right behind. I’m not a reacher, and I Iike my horse to run in the hole. I don’t want his nose right on his tail head, but I want to be just a stride behind. BRJ