Calf roping is one of the authentic ranch skills that originated from working cowboys. Tie-down roping can be traced back to the cattle ranches of the Old West. When calves were sick or injured the cowboy-ranch hands had to rope them quickly to prevent the calves from moving so they could administer medical treatment. Ranch hands prided themselves on the speed with which they could rope and tie calves. Along with being accurate and fast with a lasso, the successful roper also had to be an experienced horseman and speedy runner.
A good smart and agile horse is one of the most important tools to good calf-roping. A good calf-roper's goal is to eventually have the horse follow the calf on his own. If the calf goes right or left, the horse should follow to maintain the calf’s position. The horse also must learn how to take the jerk of the calf hitting the end of the rope.
Crawford's attention to detail, from the muscles in the pivoting horse, to the hand hold on the rope is immaculate. You can sense the tension in the horse and rider's faces, and can almost imagine how the horse has the calf singled out.