I’m Patrick Smith. World champion Team Roper. I’m excited to be working with ABI Equine. They’re coming out with a Trevor Brazile E-Series TR3 Drag. It’s something that I think is much needed in our industry.

One thing I hear a lot about is the cowboy mentality. The old school mentality of these horses are tough animals. They can take treacherous terrain. They can take, you know, bad ground and things like that. And the truth of it is, is they are tough animals. They are animals that can withstand all kinds of conditions. But in the industry where you’re trying to be competitive, every tenth of a second counts, no matter what number you are, no matter what situation or event that you’re in, if you go to compete every tenth of the second counts. And I think that in the rodeo industry, we’ve all grown up. And you’ve seen everybody out there with the panel tied behind a four wheeler, dragging the ground and in never really put in any consideration into how important it is and the footing. I mean, if you look at basketball, football, baseball, the amount of preparation that goes in for those athletes to get the ground prepared, to try to keep injuries down and to be consistent is something that I mean, they they spend all their time doing that. And I think is as in the Western industry, that’s something we don’t do enough. I think we need to be more prepared with ground. We need to make sure there’s not slick spots. There’s not uneven spots. You’re not running uphill than downhill. And all of these things are so important.

Our horses are athletes, too, and we expect them to perform on hard ground. We expect them to perform in soft ground and wet ground, whatever it may be. I think it’s really important that we pay more attention to the ground and the protection of our horses. It’s not going to do you any good if it’s two or three inches deep at the mouth of the box and then it’s six inches deep halfway down the arena and one inch deep at the back. That’s a really big blow to your horse. And you don’t ever even really realize it when you’re on their back. But over my 15 year career, it’s something that I’ve grown to know.

Man, preparing the ground. I’ve had a lot of people come to my place and tell me when you work your arena a lot. So these horses mean a lot to me. Of course I do. Just like I said, I want to protect these animals, but I make a living. This is how I put food on the table for my family is with this. And one wrong move in my practice pen can can can damper a lot of that. So I think that we as an industry, I think we need to start focusing a little more on the ground because all these drags that we’ve had in the past, you hook up to them, you drag him around your arena regardless of your conditions, regardless of whether you live in North Dakota, Texas or Oregon, it doesn’t matter. And I’ve traveled all over the country and know how different the ground varies from place to place. And this drag, I mean, it’s designed to where you can adapt it to any type of ground that you have. And that’s something that I’ve been excited about for my arena. And this thing has so many different options for me to be able to go in there and critique it for exactly what I need for my horses. And I think that’s something that our industry is needed for a long time.