Trouble With Timing

Timing has to be one of the most controversial subjects in team roping.  Some claim it is the only way to heel steers while other swear that it is a complete illusion.  Though it may get me in a fight some day, I am the minority that does not believe in timing.  Now don’t get me wrong,  I do believe you do have to throw your loop when the feet are back or you are not going to get very far, but as far as actually counting hops going down the pen or yelling out, “Now” every time you should throw your rope, I’m not sold.  I believe that most steers, especially fresh steers, will rarely take the same jump twice.  And planning on that can do us more harm then good in my opinion.  I think it also sets your horse up for failure and either makes them strong or lets them read the throw.

Heeler's Trouble with Timing

What Is Timing

I think timing actually has two definitions. One is to count the hops and plan on the steer taking the same jump all the way down and across the arena.  The other is to simply have your rope on the ground at the correct time in the steers hop, and I don’t think these two things are the same. Timing just means that your loop is hitting the legs at the peak of the steers jump, so that as they come down, your loop is starting to get them caught. Something that is not thought about though, is what is your horse currently doing when all of this is going on. Are they melting to a stop at the perfect time, or are the just still trucking. This is where I think there is a problem with simply timing the steer and planning on the same hop.  If your horse isn’t in time with you, it doesn’t really matter how good of time you are in with the steer.  Also when was the last time you saw a fresh steer take the same hop two or three times in a row.

Same Hop

Part of my thought on not being that worried about timing too early is the argument that most steers don’t take the same hop all the way through the run. This is just something to consider as you rope in higher number ropings, the steers get stronger and fresher.  This means their consistency as far as hop goes down.  And unfortunately, as you get into lower numbered ropings, though the steers get more consistent, the headers can be a little tougher to heel for. This is where planning on a shot a couple hops before can really get you into a bind.  You never know which of the many variables is going to change when you finally get to the hop you were planning on.  I think it also causes a problem with people slowing their swing down to the speed of the steer and when the take a slow jump then a couple fast ones, you are left dead in the water.

Your Horse

I am a huge advocate of being in time with your horse rather then the steer.  I think if we are only timing the steer, we are either going to surprise our horse into a throw, or give them way too much time to read it and let them get short.  It is right here, that if your horse is in your hand and has a really good feel, that you can have a lot of fun heeling steers.  I try to make sure that they are collected and in my hand while still keeping their shoulders up.  This allows them to naturally read the steer and help you in the process. This also helps them to help you in your delivery.  How many times have we “plucked” at our rope, mostly just because our horse was never really rating and we felt like we had to pick them off in the air.  This is where I emphasize feeling your horse more and the actual hops less.  Be in time with your horse and they will naturally help pick up the timing of the steer.

I do think this is the reason that we need heel horses with at least a decent amount of cow and rate.  They need to be able to help us in every way and if they are just strong and pulling it makes it really hard to find any resemblance of timing, regardless of how often you shout “Now!”

My Solution

My personal thought is to start by having really good power on your rope.  Now this doesn’t always mean swinging fast, it just means swinging hard. This allows you to be able to put your rope where ever you want  when you do see the hop that you want.  I think many heelers would drastically improve their heeling if they would just have more power on their rope. I believe in focusing more on swinging your rope hard and making sure your horse is in your hand and in good position. I think position feel and power are many miles more important to heeling the steer then just timing.  Usually if your horse is in a good spot, they are naturally in time with the steer, and if they are in time, you are at least close enough to be able to find the steer in the next hop. I think the emphasis on your horse being in your hand and reading the cow is really helpful.

I believe that if you can get a good start on your steer and get power on your rope you will be able to adapt to whatever the steer throws at you no matter what. Always tell people, ride your horse and swing your rope.  It seems simple but it can really help.  Then after you get to a good spot, then start looking at your hops.  Without the first two I believe timing the steer doesn’t do much good.

I hope this controversial article was helpful for some people who are on the fence about timing. As always Have Fun and God Bless.

Learn From The Best Ropers In The World

X Factor Roping is the easiest and most effective way to improve your roping.

We're committed to providing the best online resources for ropers of all skill levels.

Pro Members have access to over 1,500 videos including full ropings, exclusive highlights, instructional videos, interviews, practice footage, our online coaching program, and more. 

  • The Ultimate Roping Library

    Access our entire vault - including instructional videos, full ropings, exclusive rodeo runs, interviews, slow motion footage, and more.

  • Convenient Access

    With mobile apps for iOS and Android you can take our entire library on the go with you. Download videos for offline viewing or add them to your library to watch later. No service, no problem!

  • Roping Events

    We cover some of the biggest and best roping events each and every year. Streaming live exclusively on our new Apps you can watch on the big screen. Available to stream on your computer or our easy to use apps on Roku, Amazon fireTV, AppleTV, and Android TV. 

  • Training Videos

    Our videos have some of the best instructors like Joseph Harrison, Ryan Motes, Jojo Lemond, and more. They cover every aspect of roping from heading, heeling, horsemanship, and the mental game.

  • Exclusive Interviews

    We go behind the scenes with exclusive pre and post roping interviews with the competitors, winners, and the producers.

  • Practice Footage

    Exclusive practice footage you won't find anywhere else so you can see exactly how to practice like the pros.

  • Online Coaching

    Access to our Online Coaching Facebook Group for Team Roping and Breakaway Roping with our amazing coaches Jade Corkill, Buddy Hawkins, and Tyler Wade.

XFRCoachesRevC

Meet Your Coaches

✅ 3X World Champion Jade Corkill
✅ 3X NFR Qualifier Tyler Wade
✅ 3X NFR Qualifier Buddy Hawkins

Coaching from the best in the world is available at your finger tips. Submit videos of your runs, ask questions, and get answers.

Watch from anywhere

No television provider needed. Your favorite videos, available wherever you want.

xftr-apps

Hear From Other Pro Members

Brad, Texas

Being able to watch the slow mo videos have really been a blessing for me. It’s helped me learn my delivery for heeling. Along with how and where my horse needs to be. Some nights my girlfriend and I will break down videos to help us out. She has really progressed in breakaway roping because of watching your videos.

Lauren, California

X Factor has completely changed my mindset in my practice, how I compete and shaped a lot of my horsemanship while roping. I have ridden horses, trained, and barrel raced all my life, but within the past 3 years I have started to rope. I had a young horse I knew I couldn't finish in the barrels because she isn't very fast, but would make a great heel horse. So I set off on an adventure of training a rope horse, all while also learning to rope myself! Lucky me, my horse is a natural at reading cattle and watching a corner, but it was still a learning curve. My X Factor membership purchase was a turning point for my positioning, warm up for my heel horse and my body control translating to my horse when delivering. X Factor was also when my "self teaching" of how to heel really took off! Watching videos over and over, taking notes and exploring all of the different pros to learn from was what really helped me start to figure out my swing, timing and delivery.

Clay, Missouri

It has helped my horsemanship out a lot. My favorite part about the site is by far the Facebook coaching group. Ryan Motes series on advancing through the different levels of heeling has helped me the most. My mental game has improved significantly.. And it has changed the way I practice I used to just run steers now I practice to accomplish something.

Daniel, Mississippi

I love X Factor, it has helped me work on everything from dummy work to horsemanship. I’ve roped and been doing something wrong, go home and find my problem on the website. I’ve started roping in the practice pin a lot different where I use to just go make runs I now have a goal on every steer I run. Thank you, keep doing what y’all are doing!!

Blaine, Mississippi

It has help me tremendously with my horsemanship, the way I practice, and also how approach certain situation. My favorite part of the site is all the different categories you can choose from to work on. Love it

Jordynn, Canada

X Factor has helped me probably the most in my horsemanship which is precisely why I was interested in becoming a member to begin with. So mission accomplished. My favourite parts about the site is the horsemanship videos. And the videos of the ropings. I would say the Joseph Harrison and the Ryan Motes videos have helped me the most. Both a great horsemen and I like how they Really break down what they’re doing with their colts I practice completely different than I used to. And with me being a colt starter and rope horse trainer I take a lot from the horse training videos. And really appreciate them being available.

_icon_video
Cutting Edge

Regular Updates

At least 24 new professionally filmed videos added monthly. That's over 2 hours of exclusive footage every month added to our membership area

icon-camera
Top Quality

Professional Footage

Access to over 1,500 videos to take your roping to the next level. Including instructional videos, highlights, and our exclusive slow motion area

icon-coaching
Coaching Program

Personal Feedback

Learn from the best in Roping! Buddy Hawkins, Jade Corkill, and Tyler Wade have teamed up with X Factor Roping to coach our members

Shopping cart
There are no products in the cart!
Continue shopping