Yes the pictures are black-and-white, but I think they deserve a click anyway.
It looks like this blog post is going to be all about Team Roping. I realize that most folks don't care about Team Roping, and I don't even know much about it myself. But I can appreciate what it takes to have the skills, and the ability to participate in Team Roping, and dealing with the expense of keeping a stable of horses, and the means to transport them, and no small amount of danger that's involved any time you're riding a horse to its limit.
I like seeing these cowboys and cowgirls interacting with their horse as if the horse can read your mind. There's not enough time, if you plan on winning anything, to tell your horse what to do, so the horse has to be trained to go fast, stop quick, and back up, all in the blink of an eye. It's not evident in these snapshots of mine but the contestants are chasing down that steer, roping him by the head, roping his back feet and stretching him out till he's immobilized, all in less than five seconds.... If they want to win any money.
To me its just as interesting to see what the horses are doing as it is watching the Cowboys. I know the horse can't actually read the Cowboys mind but sometimes it looks that way. I guess the Cowboys are giving the horse some commands with the reins and some commands with their legs, but sometimes it seems like the horse sees what the steer is doing and the horse knows what to do when the steer is in a certain position.
These horses are very expensive, I heard somewhere that a decent team roping horse will start off at about $20,000. That sounds like an awful lot of money for a horse, but these horses are very special. They need to accelerate very fast like a dragster, and then run very fast to catch up to the steer. Then they have to go from full gallop to full reverse almost instantly to take the slack out of the rope. And have the physical strength to stop that steers forward motion as the steer is running as fast as he can possibly go. Take a look at that steer, he's not exactly moseying along.
The horse obviously has to be pretty smart, since the sequence of events only last five or six seconds, if you want to win any money. So the horses don't have a lot of time to think about what you want them to do, they have to do everything instantly
I imagine it wouldn't be too difficult to get hurt pretty badly if the cowboy got himself in a position where he shouldn't be. When you've got three or four hundred pounds of steer going full speed, and there's ropes flying in different directions attached to that steer, if all of your body parts are not exactly where they're supposed to be, getting hurt would be assured.
From what I've heard one of the more dangerous times is when the Cowboys are dallying their ropes on the saddle horn. If your hand and fingers are in the wrong position, you could end up with your hand or fingers caught up in a rope with a thousand pound horse pulling on one end and a 400 pound steer pulling on the other... Which would probably mean the cowboy would have to give up playing the guitar.