Starting rope horse - The Horse Forum
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  • 1 Post By bat4bab
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post #1 of 7 Old 11-17-2017, 10:12 PM Thread Starter
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Starting rope horse

I have a filly that will soon turn 3. She is doing exceptional at training. Moving all body parts. picking up leads on queue. The plan is to turn her into a head horse to start with then put her on the heel side once older. She has tracked the smarty and will continue to this winter. I plan on sending her to a trainer. I know there will be a lot of pressure put on her. At what age is the best to send her to the trainer. She is a big girl. She is also very mentally mature for her age.
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post #2 of 7 Old 11-17-2017, 10:16 PM
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Personally, I start swinging a rope off one almost as soon as start riding them, but I don't actually rope anything until they are five.
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post #3 of 7 Old 11-17-2017, 10:44 PM Thread Starter
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I have been swinging a rope off of her and around her sense the day I got her. I have roped the smarty at a walk. She has no problems with a rope or dragging things. We drag a small log sideway facing pulling and getting use to life. She is use to the high energy of the roping pen. I have taking her to practice roping's and tied her up. She is calmer then the older teen age horses. I was thinking of sending her to the trainer the winter of her 4/5 year old year. This next summer she will be on small cattle drives and doing some cattle sorting and being at the brandings getting use to the commotion there. I will probable brand off my older horse.
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post #4 of 7 Old 11-18-2017, 01:41 AM
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No heavy work, hard stops, or pulling weight until she's older. Most people who want a nice horse that will last won't start asking them for speed and hard stops earlier than 5. Swinging a rope, and tracking the dummy at a jog or controlled lope are fine, but the growth plates in the back and neck are the last to fuse, sometime in the 5 y.o. year, and taking a jerk from a steer earlier can damage her spine. I personally won't ask a horse to really stop or take a jerk or pull weight until 6.

In fact, a FB friend bought her 'heart horse' back, and found out he's going to have issues for life from roping steers when he was too young. His back is messed up with fusions where there shouldn't be any, and quite a bit of scar tissue. The guys that had him roped him hard and fast young, and he's ruined for life.
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post #5 of 7 Old 11-18-2017, 10:02 AM
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I've never trained a roping horse from scratch so take this with a grain of salt.

I own a four sixes horse that was working on the Waggoner so he probably done it all in his youngest years. He was then used in team roping competitively. When I bought him, he was recovering from an injury (which was how I could afford him). He blew out his stifle. Within weeks, he developed what we at first thought was EPM but, tests showed it was not that.

After running full screenings for other things like lime's disease, the doc decided to have a look at his spine using x-rays. We were a bit afraid that maybe it was wobblers....the only thing that he found was some arthritis at the c-6, c-7...right where the horn would be, probably from dallying. He was 7 years old at the time. (The final diagnosis was that he ate a native toxic plant which caused the symptoms and they eventually cleared up.)

I have to agree with all of those above that say no heavy stuff until at least five, though the spine is said not to be fully mature until 7. I know that isn't always possible with serious competitive ropers but, if you are talking about the "ideal", best for the horse...I'd wait to do the full out work for a couple of more years.

“You spend your whole life with horses and just about the time you think you have them figured out, a horse comes along that tells you otherwise.” –quote from my very wizened trainer


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post #6 of 7 Old 11-18-2017, 11:01 AM
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If you're not in a big hurry I think you're on the right track.

If you have a chance to brand on her this spring, do it.
You don't have to rope 400 head on her in a day. We usually use our colts to gather and get everything to the trap then rope maybe 10 (little)calves, step off, uncinch them, hobble or tie them to the trailer to relax. Don't make a big production out of it or get them tired or sore.
I don't know your roping ability but if you're not comfortable doing it have someone who is and can keep her out of a wreck.

Keep riding her inside and outside of the arena, roping the smarty mindful of her position. Riding them outside keeps them sane. We take friends rope horses and use them outside when they need a break.
And taking older outside horses to the roping pen after they've been roped off outside is pretty easy.
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I DON'T LEAD 'EM AND FEED 'EM, I RIDE 'EM AND SLIDE 'EM.
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post #7 of 7 Old 11-18-2017, 10:26 PM Thread Starter
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I believe mentally she is ready to do some branding next spring. If I do brand on her I would just rope 4-5 then give her a break and do a few more later. When branding I use a slick horn so I can slip rope and make it easier on the horse if needed. I take her out on trail rides as much as possible with other horses and by ourselves I believe that this resets there brain from the arena and training.. I will be gathering on her this summer but I have to watch what rides ones I take her on. As I don't want to tire her out to much. I am in no huge hurry in getting her to team rope. I want her to last. She will be 3 in April. She is a big girl about 15.1 to 15.2 hands. She is Driftwood and Handcock bread. She is making a great horse.
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