The Real Time Canine II

After spending 2 years writing the Real Time Canine, the adventure continues with The Real Time Canine II. Read along as I look for just the right puppy to continue the experience. After false starts with Tim and Jed, I am currently training young Tam, and Spot, which are both off to a strong start. Please visit the RTC II to read about training sessions as they occur.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Going back to the Dummy

Here is where it all began. Well, not right here on this exact spot, but on this dummy. Well not this exact dummy, but one just like it. Well not just like it, my first roping dummy was actually made from a bale of alfalfa hay, and this one is straw. What can I tell you? Times are tough, and alfalfa is expensive. Hell, straw was expensive. I almost choked when they told me to pony up $16 for 2 bales. One was used to bed my dog houses for winter and this one for me to tune up my roping.

I found my rope bag stuffed among the rafters in the garage and was surprised to find a brand new, never-been-used head rope inside. I put it back and took down the old rope I use to decorate the garage from its' hanger outside.
The first 3 loops I threw were deadly, slick around the horns with a curl and everything. Then I started to think. The next one, I missed, then a half-head, then one around the neck. OK, enough thinking, just throw it. From muscle memory long unused came some very clean loops with the hondo in the right place on the left side, and a nice curl that stood up tall behind the horns. I was back, but I was tired.

When I was first learning to rope, I spent time every single day on the dummy throwing exactly 50 loops. It was mandated that I get to 50 loops, slick around the horns on the dummy before I could rope a'horseback. I was determined and my arm got strong. I want to regain that strength.

After learning to rope the dummy, I spent the better part of the next 10 years roping here, on the San Felipe Ranch, in this roughed out little arena at one corner of the horse pasture. The fencing was baling twine and duct tape, the ground was uneven and rough, and the chutes were homemade right down to the bungi cords. The dust was often so bad that from the roping boxes you could not see the steers as they were roped, or even whether the ropers caught. It was hot, it was cold, it was so windy, the ground was hard and the steers got big. We could only change them out every year or, and I once had a horse so small and the cattle had gotten so big, that the steers Mo' was turning outweighed him. These were some of the happiest times of my far, and I cherish them.

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