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Learning The Basics Of Goat Tying

Even though you won't often see goat tying in a professional rodeo competition, the event is enormously popular in junior high, high-school and college rodeos. It usually attracts female contenders as well as young people. Goat tying is a timed event in which a rider races to a staked out goat, flips it and ties 3 of its four legs. The participant with the fastest time wins the event.

Penalties are given if a goat is able to escape the tie during an 8-second tying period or if the rider's horse crosses the rope used to stake out the goat. Because competitive times are often under 10 seconds, a penalty (5 seconds added to the rider's time) can effectively ruin a rider's chances of winning. Below, we'll describe a few tying tips, the difference between stuffing and pinning and how to avoid speed jams.

Tips For Tying

Tying the legs of the goat requires speed, precision and strategy. The more fluid and streamlined your movements, the faster and more precise you'll be able to tie. First, keep your head down while tying the legs. This will help you wrap around the bones of the legs. Second, avoid the temptation of moving furiously. If you watch amateur goat tying competitors, you'll notice that they seem to be moving every joint in their body. That takes precious time. Limit your movements as much as possible. The less you move, the faster you'll tie. Third, make sure the knot you're using is around the bottom of the legs. A knot applied higher on the legs can be loosened if the goat strains.

Stuffing Vs. Pinning

Stuffing and pinning are 2 different flanking techniques. Stuffing requires that the goat's legs are collected while in the air. By contrast, pinning is the technique of collecting the legs off the ground. Most experts say that pinning is the preferred method. It's generally quicker and allows more control of the goat's legs than stuffing. To stuff properly, the competitor has to lift the goat higher from the ground, taking more time to do so. Because goat tying is a timed event, a second's delay can cost dearly.

Avoiding A Speed Jam

Speed jams happen for 2 reasons: lack of preparedness and inadequate speed during practice. First, there's very little time to think during the event. If a rider is thinking of her tying, gathering, or flanking techniques on the field, it will slow her down. Being competitive in this event means constantly practicing so the movements become second nature. That way, during the event, the rider won't waste any time on the field.

Second, speed jams happen when riders aren't accustomed to the fast pace of the event. Often, riders will practice goat tying without the urgency or intensity of a competition. When they find themselves trying to beat the times of others', they hit a snag, adding seconds to their time. To avoid speed jams, riders must practice at full speed. That's the only way to prepare for competition.

Nutrition, Exercise And Mental Focus

Goat tying competitors need to eat plenty of fruits, nuts and vegetables. They also need lean protein for energy. Because goat tying requires strength and endurance, weight training is recommended with the goal of building strength in the arms, legs and core. Cardio exercises are useful for building endurance and stamina. Many riders overlook exercises to focus their minds. But, experts agree that envisioning their points of strength before the event can have a dramatic impact on their performance.

In the end, goat tying may never be included in a professional rodeo competition. But, it's a good way to encourage young people to get involved in rodeo events. In fact, it can serve as a precursor to their competing in nationally-sanctioned rodeo tournaments. Goat tying may well be the perfect stepping stone for a new generation of cowboys and cowgirls.