CLAY O’BRIEN COOPER: Horse­power is never to be taken for granted

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Contents -

The tough­est part of mak­ing a liv­ing rop­ing is get­ting and main­tain­ing horse­power. If you’ve got a re­ally good horse it’s easy to take that for granted. I had a great horse for a cou­ple years when I won my first cou­ple cham­pi­onships. His name was Blue, and he just did things so well that he made it easy to heel. He was my dif­fer­ence maker at that time, be­cause he let me do what I’d worked so hard on. When I lost him, I spent four or five years strug­gling from horse to horse. We still won cham­pi­onships, but it wasn’t the same and we didn’t dom­i­nate. The statis­tics say we (Jake and Clay) won seven world cham­pi­onships, but there were four or five of them that were dog eat dog, grind it out, fight to the bit­ter end and some­how come out on top sit­u­a­tions. That was from lack of horse­power on both our sides. We had good horses, but they weren’t great. I got my buck­skin horse, Ike, in 1992, and he lasted me 11 years. He was a tough horse that I could rope good on, so I had the lux­ury of go­ing a good, long pe­riod of time when he was al­ways there for me. I kind of wish he’d been there for the first 10 years of my ca­reer, be­cause dur­ing the sec­ond 10 years I started hav­ing a fam­ily and work­ing on other busi­ness en­deav­ors, like teach­ing rop­ing schools. Ike may not have lasted like he did if I’d had him in the trailer non-stop those first 10 years, but it sure would have been great to have him.


Af­ter Ike, I bounced around for sev­eral years un­til Kory Koontz sold me LB at the end of 2012. What I came to re­al­ize over the years is that LB doesn’t like to prac­tice. He’s not much fun to prac­tice on, ei­ther, so I prac­tice on other horses. But when...

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