Roping at a Branding
I want to start roping at brandings. I want to drag calves to the stove but I don't know how to practice, because we don't have calves that we can bring in. How would I get started?
Sorry you haven't got any responses on this. Hardly anyone brands around here so I'm not that qualified, but I'll put in my 2 cents. . . .The locals may want you to heel the calves, so being tuned up on your heeling would be a bonus. Knowing cows would sure help too, like being able to read them and know where they're fixin to go. And knowing how to not accidently run them through a fence. Most roping in the branding pen is done at a walk or even standing still. They're already stirred up so getting the job done without something crazy happening is important. If you don't know the local ranchers, getting started may be tough.
Also practicing without calves will be a booger. Get a little cheap donkey maybe.
You can make a small saw horse type roping dummy and practice with that. The most important thing is to get invited back to brandings. Keep your eyes open and your mouth shut and don't expect to rope a lot. As you go to more brandings you will be asked to rope more often but at the start you may not rope much. Don't ride a half broke dink that will get you in trouble and watch your rope so you don't cause a wreck.
Like the guys above said, if your a wreck you probably won't get invited back. You might want to go and work the ground first. This will give you an idea how everything works and maybe work you into a roping spot.
Just a couple of quick tips....
If your snagging and dragging(heeling calves and dragging them to the fire, usually done with small calves)
Ride into the herd slowly(walk) pick a calve and carve him out and push him out like your riding a clockwise circle, when he's out he will naturally want to go back to the herd this is when you will get your best shot and set you up to dally and go straight to the fire. you will throw your loop when the calf is perpidicular to your leg. If you were to catch while you are in the herd and the calf is out, you are setting yourself up for either losing your calf or a possible wreck because you have to get headed the other way. Its easy to practicing roping the sawhorse in this position while sitting on your horse.
Heading and heeling, if your heeling wait on the outside of the herd for someone to drag one out...do not go in the herd, this usually gets someone rim fired. Also if your heeling big cattle make sure you catch two feet, its the polite thing to do for your ground crew!
If your your necking, wait your turn, take your time and once you get him caught and get dallied -get short, its much easier for your heeler and SAFER if youve got him short and hes not windmilling around you on 50 foot of rope.
Pay attention to how many calves are down, your ground crew can only handle so many at a time. And you dont really want to be choking one because you have to wait for a spot at the fire. You dont want to stress your cattle anymore than you have to, stress causes weight loss and sickness.
And remember, keep your head on a swivel!!! Pay attention to what is going on a round you!
I hope this might help, every place does things a little different, just listen to your boss or lead off guy.
Heading...calves...at a branding? Never done that one before!
A lot of guys will want you to only come in with two feet, it's a lot easier on the calves and the wrestlers.
People are normally very helpful when it comes to beginners in the roping pen. Don't be afraid to talk to em!
QH, it depends on how many people are there to help and what their own traditions are as to whether they prefer the calves to be headed or heeled. There are a lot of bigger remudas that head their calves because they have enough cowboys on the ground to stretch them out without using a horse. Some others do a team roping type catch with a horse on both ends. Those of us that work smaller brandings with just a handful of people prefer to heel because the horse can keep control of the ass end and you really only need 2 other people to get the job done; one to hold down the front end and the other to do all the working (cutting, branding, shots).
You also have to take into consideration the size of the calves and the type of ground you have to drag them over. If you are branding calves that are 400lbs you won't be able to drag many by the heels before your horse is wore out and it's hard on the calves. If you have to drag them over rocks (like many places in Idaho, Nevada and Oregon) you'll want them as close to the fire as possible before they start to drag.
got any younger brothers or sisters?
I agree, it really does depend on where your from and the size of your calves.
I have been to brandings in CA where they sorted off all the cows, put the calves in a small pen, everyone would line up outside the gate of the small pen and one person would go in neck a calf, drag it out the gate and whoever was next in line heeled it. Set up like a team roping. I thought it was weird, but we got about 500 calves done by lunch.
I've seen people not even rope, go in drag a calf out by a hind leg and flat ass them. Or use a calf table. Personally I think this is a sin ;) But everyone does it different.
Here at home we usually brand for about a week, the cows are turned out on a 80,000 acre allotment for calving. If there is a branding trap we use it or set up a open ended trap with panels. Gather, sort off enough cows to make room in the trap(If you rope a cow by accident, you buy the beer!) We might snag and drag for a day, but always with the little guys. Head & heel for a day or so, and always for the big ones. If your header slides a little rope, and your ground crew knows what to do it is very easy to get a big one down, you don't have to wrestle them. By lunch we have several hundred calves done, mother everything back up, the cookhouse brings lunch and we have a few beers. The rosin jaw crew breaks down the trap if we used panels and sets them up in the new spot that afternoon while the cowboy crew heads back to the barn, wrangle and catch horses for the next day.
In the fall we have clean up brandings about a month or two before we ship to get anything we miss or late calves. By then the calves are big and we head and heel them.
But in the end its all about getting the job done in the best way possible and having a little fun while your doing it!
What part of Nevada are you in?
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