Lynn McKenzie likes to say “clocks like straight lines,” and as a World Champion barrel racer she would know. This phrase also rings true in the other events. In the steer wrestling the straightest path past the steer is the fastest. In the calf roping we want to break to the pin in order to get straight behind the calf. In the calf roping and the goat tying we go straight down the rope. In team roping the time stops when both ropes are straight and taught. “Clocks do like straight lines.”
One training tool to work on straight lines is to use a rake. It is a really simple trick, but it will help you to see the path you are taking to the animal and to see if you have straight lines.
1. Leaving the box
a. Rake the front of the box and about 15’ in front of the chutes between runs. Then look at your horse’s path.
b. For calves the tracks should be right behind the calf by about 20’ in front of the chutes.
c. For steer wrestling your horse’s tracks leaving the box should line up parallel to where you caught the steer.
2. Down the rope
a. For goat tying, between runs rake around the area where you get off of the horse to the goat. This will let you see if you are running straight to the goat and pinning him on the end of the rope.
b. For calf roping, rake beside the rope when you are tying from the post. This will allow you to see if you are running straight to the calf, and it will also let you see if you are placing your feet in the right place to flank the calf.
In the practice pen, just like in life, sometimes the best way to see where your problems lie is to look back and see where your footprints were landing.
“Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:12-13