I recently had a friend reach out to me about an idea for a blog post. He told me, “Lacey, I have read a lot of articles about buying horses, training horses, and selling horses…but I have never read an article about borrowing a horse!” He told me a story about a good friend of his (let’s call him “Jim”) who is a higher number roper. Jim always rides nice horses and one day before a big roping, he discovered that both of his horses had come up lame. Discouraged, he told my friend that he intended to draw out. My friend, being the big sweetheart that he is, offered to let Jim ride one of his horses. Jim refused multiple times, but persistence finally won him over, and he agreed to borrow a horse. That weekend, he won a big roping that was very special to him riding a borrowed horse.
If you haven’t been in this situation at some point in your roping career, odds are, eventually you will. So, what do we do in that situation? Do we draw out and cut our losses if we can, or do we borrow a horse and rope?
Here are some tips for borrowing horses…
Know What You’re Riding
If you are going to borrow a horse to rope on, try to borrow one that you know, or borrow one from someone that you can trust. It’s a lot easier to rope on a horse that you KNOW fits you. But borrowing one that you KNOW fits you isn’t always easy. There are a lot of nice horses out there, so if someone that you know for sure rides nice horses offers to let you ride their horse, I would say go ahead and take them up on the offer. Now if you know a guy is bronc stomper and can make junk look good and you are used to riding something that’s broke broke, maybe find another option so you don’t get hurt. No one wants to end up a lawn dart, especially when there is money on the line.
Riding A Borrowed Horse
So, now you have found a horse to ride and it’s time for you to back in the box. Riding someone else’s horse is kind of a touchy subject and how you ride that horse really depends on how talented of a horseman you are. There are people in this world who are very used to being mounted on many different horses. They can ride just about anything they swing a leg over and make that horse look good. Then there are others who maybe aren’t as far along in their horsemanship who need be on something that will take care of them. As the roper who is borrowing the horse, know your ability and be honest with yourself. Don’t get yourself in a bind by riding a much higher caliber horse than you’re used to. And if you are the person loaning the horse out, either know your horse or know the rider…don’t loan something to someone that you know they can’t ride.
As a roper who is borrowing a horse, you need to make sure that you treat that horse right. Don’t be whipping and spurring on someone else’s horse (unless they tell you too)…that’s a pretty good way to lose a friend and also lose the opportunity to ever borrow someone’s horse again if you need to! Also, try not to teach that horse or allow that horse to make any bad habits (ducking out, cutting the corner, etc).
Whether the person loaning the horse to you asks for it or not, if you win money on someone else’s horse, you should ALWAYS offer to give the owner a cut. That is common courtesy and an unspoken rule of borrowing horses. And remember, ALWAYS say “thank you.” A person doesn’t have to loan out their horse, so be thankful if they do.
Don’t Make Assumptions
This rule right here should be the number one rule when borrowing horses! If you are at a jackpot and you borrow a horse, don’t assume that you can just enter up and ride the legs off of someone else’s horse. If someone loans you a horse for one roping, don’t just assume that you can ride the horse in the next roping and enter up. Make sure that you are respectful of the owner and ask them if it’s okay that you ride their horse again.
Also, don’t just assume that you know how to ride someone else’s horse if you have never been on it! Ask them how you should ride their horse. How tight do they cinch them up? How snug do they hold their reins? Are there any quirks that you should know about, and if so, how do you handle them? Every horse is different and every rider is different, so always be respectful and ask.
Loaning Out Your Horse
Don’t ever feel like you are obligated to loan out your horse. I’ll be the first to admit that I grew up an only child and I am extremely selfish. I rarely let anyone else ride my horse, let alone rope on him, and if someone asks to ride my horse and I don’t want them to, I don’t hesitate to say NO. I have worked really hard to get my horses to work the way they do, so unless I really know and trust someone, I don’t loan out my horses.
I’m not telling you to be like me. If you are the kind of person who is okay with loaning out your horses, then go ahead. Just don’t feel like you are obligated to loan your horses out if you don’t want to. I have been in the position where I have needed a horse multiple times, and someone has always been there to spot me one. I respect and appreciate every single person who has offered. It is a very kind thing to do.
As I stated earlier in this article, if you are willing to loan out your horse, know your horse well enough and the person borrowing the horse well enough to make sure that no one gets hurt.
Don’t wait for the person borrowing your horse to ask how to ride him. Offer up that information if you can. The person needing a horse is probably already a little stressed, so ease their mind by telling them how your horse acts. For example: “He may want to swing his butt out in the box…just tap him with your right spur and he’ll sit back in there.” “He has been getting a little tight on the corner…don’t be afraid to back him off a little to keep him in position.”
Sometimes things don’t go the way we plan them. Horses get hurt and we have to deal with it one way or another. If someone is nice enough to loan you a horse, follow the tips above and always be thankful and appreciative! And to those of you who are always quick to loan a horse out to a roper in need, we appreciate your kindness and thank you from the bottom of our hearts!