Crawford’s Kryptonite: Controlling Her Left Hand

Jackie Crawford's left hand is her key to winning or losing in breakaway roping. How does she focus on controlling it in a breakaway run?

Crawford’s Kryptonite: Controlling Her Left Hand
  • What you’ll learn: Jackie Crawford’s left hand is her key to winning or losing in breakaway roping. How does she focus on controlling it in a breakaway run?

My worst habit—and truly a lot of people’s bad habit—is picking up on my left hand running to the calf.

I want to stay riding to the cow through my throw, and when I don’t, I create bad habits in my horses and my roping.

How It Starts

I’ll drop to the pin, and then when I start swinging, I’ll pick back up with my left hand. I have been working on keeping that drive across to the cow.

Stealing Momentum

I don’t just pick up when I start swinging, I pick up when I’m getting ready to throw, too. It’s a comfort for me, for some reason, to tie up my left hand right before I throw. On these longer scores, I will cause my horse to lose momentum when I need him to stay going forward to a runner. I cause my horse to hit, and that causes a loss of momentum.

How to Work On It

Kevin—the bay horse I’ve been riding the last two years—knows I do this, and I’ve taught him to sometimes hit and lose momentum. So out here in California, I’ve been riding Hail Mary, my new mare that is more free-rolling to the calf. She’ll run through my hand movement for me, which, I’d rather her not have to do, but it’s good to know she will.

But I’ve been working on fixing this about myself. I’ve been roping the dummy a lot. On the road, I’ve got Cheyenne Brittain and Hope Thompson with me, and we’ll all rope the dummy and watch each other’s left hand. I talk myself through a run, and I constantly remind myself to keep my left hand steady. I will watch my left hand, and so will they. And we just spend a lot of time focusing on our left hand.

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