Heading vs. Heeling: Team Roping Tips for Both Roles
Hard-working headers and heelers both need roping tips to catapult them to the top of their game. Even the masters still spend hours every day working on perfecting their skills and learning how to better perform.
Whether you’re a novice or an advanced team roper, you can benefit from helpful reminders about your role, your responsibility and what you can do to make your partner’s job easier.
Team Roping — Familiarize Yourself with Both Jobs
One of the best team roping tips is to always remember that you’re a team. The ideal way for headers and heelers to learn how to do their job better, or just understand what their partner needs from them, is to take on their role for a few runs.
For example, when headers start to see how hard it is to heel cattle that are pulling to the left, they become much more conscientious about how they handle the steer. The expert ropers can alternate between heading and heeling without an issue, even competing at the highest level in both roles.
If you’re trying to perfect either your heading or heeling skills, some roping tips can help.
For the Header: Control Your Horse
Part of skillful heading technique is properly gauging the speed of the cattle and controlling your horse throughout the course of the run. One of the least effective maneuvers is to turn left as the steer is running up the rope. This only swings the cattle outside, and it starts running faster, making it more difficult on the heeler. You have to expertly stay out in front of the steer and prevent him from curving in behind the head horse.
It takes a strong bond with your horse, an expertly trained horse and top-notch horsemanship skills to become an expert header. When you have control of the run, your heeler’s job is always made easier.
For the Heeler: Get into Position
How many times have you slipped a leg as a heeler? The best way to prevent this problem is to make sure your positioning is just right before you deliver the loop. It’s all about your slack — too much makes you have to hurry back to the horn. Try to stay in rhythm with the slack to prevent this problem.
Get Outfitted with the Right Tools
You need quality ropes, superior tack and expert advice — you need Frontier Trailers & Roping Supply. Visit our Spanish Fork store to check out our wide selection of team roping supplies up-close and personal, or order what you need online. Either way, call us anytime for information on our products and maybe even a few extra team roping tips to help you improve your skills. We are your top team roping resource in Utah and beyond!