Tie-down roping is the most technical event in rodeo. It takes hours of practice to perfect both the skills of the roper and the horse. To begin with, the roper must remain behind the barrier until the calf crosses the score line. Breaking the barrier adds 10 seconds to the roper’s time. After roping the calf, the cowboy must run down his rope and throw the calf by hand. If the calf is down when he reaches it, he must allow the calf to get up and then throw it.
The roper then ties any three legs with a pigging string. The tie must hold for six seconds after the roper remounts his horse, and during that time, his rope must remain slack. The maneuvers of the horse are all important. He must rate the speed of the calf, stop on cue in a single stride and then hold he rope taut while the roper runs his calf. A solid, true working horse is difficult to find and commands a high price.