God Loves Team Ropers!
Several years ago a lady asked me to ride a big heavy built bay and white paint gelding that she was considering selling. He lacked riding and maturing but had the makings of a good head horse. I asked for permission to take the horse to the Alder Creek cattle ranch in Nevada for a couple of weeks. I knew if I was able to get some rides on him I would know more of what he was made of.
Every now and then we just can’t miss. You will hear an athlete say “I was on a roll” or “I was just on fire.” It is a great experience when you realize that you are in the middle of one of those times.
The Mitchell Ranch is just outside the little town of Vale in eastern Oregon. The home ranch was about 300 acres with 25,000 acres of lease ground west of there out on the high desert. The lease ground was an interesting array of small abandoned homesteads from the late 1800’s. The Oregon territory had offered homesteaders 160 ac. parcels under the land grant program for free if they would live on them for five years and try to make a go of it. They struggled to survive for a few years, but land was harsh. Long cold winters, scorching, hot summers, very little rain, with one or two small streams within a hundred miles made it difficult and eventually they folded up and the land went back to the state.
I remember the phone call I received regarding a cute black and white paint horse. He had been in training for about 60 days and was still more horse than these people needed. Now this was a typical situation that we have all seen where novice riders want a young horse they can grow up with. I told them after watching the family trying to ride him that if they should ever decide to sell him I would be interested.
This past summer I was invited to give a motivational/inspirational talk just before the roping began at a local jackpot. I had recently heard several of the pros like Tyler, Jake, Clay O, Allen, Walt and even some of our local coaches talking about balance. I had been really concentrating on the concept of being balanced in the stirrups before taking my shot at either end. I could understand the need for balance not only for myself but for my horse as well.