Ask The Pros with Jake Barnes

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Shoulder Injury
Dear Jake,
I just started to head a year ago but I have a shoulder injury holding me back. Just like you, I am unable to lift up my shoulder to rope. I can hardly raise my arm high enough to swing the rope. Could you PLEASE help me with some information on what I could do to regain my mobility in my shoulder? Thanks for all your inspiration for all the beginners. GOD BLESS.
Thank you,
Jessie, Louisiana

Dear Jessie,
Well, I can relate because after I cut my thumb off that was one of my problems. I tried several different things and I don't know which one of them worked, but I did acupuncture, I did occupational therapy, I took vitamin E and fish oil pills. Everyone I talked to had some remedy and I tried them all. I did a lot of physical therapy and stretching-pulling those bands. I don't know the extent of my injury because I didn't have an MRI done.

I would suggest that you have an MRI done and find out exactly what's wrong. One of the things that I think helped me the most was I went to a veterinarian and I don't know the terminology, but he gave me some kind of shock treatment that they use for horses that have pulled suspensory ligaments and stuff like that. My socket was frozen up and I couldn't lift my arm without bending my whole body over so I think that really helped free it up. I tried it all trying to get it going again.

Doing the Wave
Dear Jake,
When I am heading, I will catch the horns, but when I set the slack, I am waving the rope off the horns. What am I doing?
Warnel, Big Timber, Mont.

Dear Warnel,
I feel that there are numerous things that can cause that. Sometimes it happens if your horse is still moving forward when you throw. I contribute a lot of waving off problems to having too stiff a rope, too. Sometimes not throwing the right type of loop is a factor and a lot of times dipping that tip a little further will help. The timing with which you pull your slack has a lot to do with it, too. A lot of guys run up there and they're afraid they're going to wave it off and they hesitate just a second to pull their slack and the loop actually bounces off as they pull it. A softer rope and a little more speed on your rope and having confidence that it's not going to come off are all important. Then, as the loop goes on you need to be pulling it in rhythm-pulling it as fast as you can-once you've got it around the horns.

Best Foot Forward
Dear Jake,
Hey. How are you and your family doing? When I practice on my JakeSteer, should I have my right foot in front of the other? Thank you for your time.
Your student,
Joshua, Penrose, Colo.

Dear Joshua,
Actually if you watch videos of yourself on your horse, your right foot should be forward and your left leg will be back behind you slightly for balance. Some guys preach that you should rope like you are on your horse. I personally put my left foot forward for balance when I rope the dummy. When you're on your horse you put more weight-and are more stationary-on your right foot. So I guess if you're wanting the perfect practice, that would be the way to go.

Where to Start
Dear Jake,
I am a beginning roper and was wondering what type of rope I should start with.
David, Heflin, La.

Dear David,
I use Classic Ropes, so I'm going to say Classic. What you do need is a rope that's broken in just a little bit. If it's too new, a beginner has a tendency to get the rope in a backswing, or figure eight, as he feeds it. So I would say an extra soft Powerline Lite. But you need to have someone break it in slightly for you or stretch it so it takes the bounce out of it. Also, you don't want a rope that's worn out and fuzzy, then you'll have a hard time feeding it. You should also use a cotton glove so you can feed the rope more easily. The moisture in your hand when it sweats can make the rope sticky so you'll have a hard time feeding it.

Rope Barrier Training
Dear Jake,
What is the best way to get a head horse running cleanly through a rope barrier?Thanks,
Deano, Floresville, Texas

Dear Deano,
You want to string a barrier up and have somebody holding it to start with it. Then just walk your horse through it. If you go too fast, he's going to want to jump and you don't want to teach him to do that, so just go slow. About the time your horse touches the barrier, have the guy that's holding it let it go. Do that several times and as he gets less afraid, trot him through it. Once he doesn't hesitate, break him to run through it and have the guy release it as he touches it. All horses are different. If a horse has been behind an electric fence it might take a while for them to get over the fear of it. It's just repetition. After you do that a while they'll zip right through it.

Roping by Jake?
Dear Jake,
You're The Legend and will always be the best roper I know. I was wondering if you are going give any schools or private lessons. I have been to over six of your schools in the past. Let me know if this is possible.

Hope you are doing well Jake, it still takes my breath away seeing what happened but God knows you will be the champ again soon.
Beth, Spring Valley, Wisc.

Dear Beth,
As of right now, I'm not going to be doing any schools or lessons. I'm still rehabbing my hand and rodeoing, concentrating mostly on making the Finals.STW