The Perfect Calf is the only way to slow things down making it easier to fix bad habits. I’ve tried other dummies and this is the only one you can practice handling your slack to the inside or outside and get real world results.
Just wanted to post a “few” words about how pleased we are with our purchase of the Perfect Calf. Prior to getting the Perfect Calf we had all the normal issues with teaching our boy to rope. We had trouble keeping calves he could handle. We didn’t want him to run too many on his “good” horse and practice horses are almost as hard to find and keep tuned as rodeo horses.
When we saw the Perfect Calf at the Jr. High Finals in Gallup, my wife couldn’t believe that I wanted to purchase one. I’m a little tight with my money, to say the least is here. We would have to buy a 4-wheeler and the expense was more than she could believe I would want to spend. Now that we have the Perfect Calf, she agrees it was money well spent.
Our boy had basically just breakaway roped until the fall of 2009. The idea of keeping him in practice horses and practice calves was a worry, but the Perfect Calf has saved us many of those worries. With the Perfect Calf, we can “run” more calves than we would ever have been able to with live calves, and now, almost any horse that we can ride makes a practice horse. A byproduct has been a “useless” horse turning into a horse on which my son won second in the Tie Down Average and first in the Ribbon Roping Average at the Oklahoma Jr High Finals at the horse’ SECOND trip to town as a calf horse.
First, we were able to start our boy practicing at a very controlled speed. Learning to correctly handle his horse, handle his slack, step off, get down the rope, get in a position to flank and all the other details was much easier at 4 mph in a controlled situation than it would have been with a live calf. As with most 14 year olds, our boy was all bones and not much strength. With the Perfect Calf he could make 20-30 practice “runs” per night without getting tired and with very little frustration. At this point, let me also mention, we didn’t have to keep much of a supply of small calves he could handle on hand and alive. As he improved, we stepped it up on the speed and it was amazing how quickly he learned the right moves.
Back then, he would rope the Perfect Calf and just jerk it over backwards off the stand since he didn’t have the strength to flank it off the stand. Since then, he has added some size and now is learning to handle his slack to switch the Perfect Calf so he can flank it off the skid.
Another rewarding part of this story was at the time, we had a pretty much worthless horse that we kept around strictly for him to tie goats on at the Jr. Rodeos. This was the horse he used for most of his practice sessions on the Perfect Calf. Neither my wife nor I could stand to ride the horse, so our son was the only person to have ever roped on this horse. He had used this horse for breakaway practice at home and one thing we can say is that he was a scoring dream. When we would run live calves, he would use this horse and I would simply stand by the calf and make sure the horse would keep the rope tight, but I had never officially worked him back on a rope or tried to make much of a horse out of him. He was basically a user for home and we didn’t pay him much mind. Prior to my son going to the Oklahoma Jr. High School Finals Rodeo, he started having problems with his good horse and we started noticing this practice horse doing some things correctly. We decided to stick him in to go to an Ultimate Calf Roping (our son’s first real roping) and we used him in the #13 roping. He didn’t do too bad. I tried to work him back on a rope the second day, but he didn’t quite “get it” as he’d never even been knocked back on a rope.
When things didn’t get better with the good horse, we took the chance and let him rope on the practice horse at the Jr. High Finals the next week. It was a success. My son won second in the Tie Down average, and won the ribbon roping average….. on a horse that was at his second roping and had never had any training other than by a 14 yr old novice. We are certain that the Perfect Calf trained this horse. My son had made a 100’s of Perfect Calf runs on him at a slow speed, so it was never a big deal to this horse. He has never blown up or even gotten silly about the deal.
After seeing the success with this horse, I have started roping again (I haven’t roped competitively in 4 or 5 yrs). It makes practice fun to never get frustrated with a horse. I can up the speed only when they are ready.
Thanks to Bill for making roping nights productive for me, my son, and our horses.
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