Pulling Off the Shot: Successfully Roping Over Your Horse’s Neck with Kelsie Chace

Eight-time WPRA World Champion and WCRA Major Champion Kelsie Chace can pull off some serious shots. Here's her guide to making it work when a calf steps left.

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Bullstock Media Courtesy WCRA

How Do You Get In This Situation?

When a calf steps left, that’s when this will happen. I don’t ever want to be taken out by a calf that goes right or left. Your horse gets there the next stride, but if I can make that shot work, that saves me from going three more strides to straighten it out. My horse Little Man is very little, and he’s got a little bitty neck to make it easier.  If a calf steps left, I’m going to try to pull off that shot. You don’t get paid at 4-flat anymore.

What to Practice?

We’ve done drills at my schools in which I’ll put the dummy to the left. When you’re working at it, you have to get higher with your swing to make that work.

Taking the Shot

You have to get your hand up even higher to make that angle work and really turn your rope over on the left side. If you’re focusing on working with your calf going straight it won’t work. If you bring your hand higher, that changes the angle of your swing. If you get even higher and turn your thumb down at your target on the left side, that allows you to pull off that shot. You have to get over your horse’s head to make that work. You can change your arm and your angle better than you can moving your whole body, because if you move your body to much, your horse can feel that and that will mess you up, too. 

Finishing the Run

In one stride, you can fix your rope to be able to fix your angle to make that work, but in the next stride you have to still be pushing to the left so your horse finishes to where the calf is rather than straight. You have to be riding to where the calf is going. You can’t just shoot it over there and not get your horse there. You’re still driving with your left hand to where the calf is going. You can pull off a shot before your horse ends up in the calf’s track, but then you have to finish your job riding. It’s not like it’s the horse’s fault the calf went left. Our horse needs to square up to stop and break it off to finish the run. BRJ

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