There are two typical ways of describing the delivery of a heeling loop. One is roping or scooping the feet; the other is the trap. The people who teach roping schools tend to teach one heeling technique or the other. The way I see it, which one you use depends on whether youre trying to bring the loop over the top of the steers hips, which is the trap style, or youre coming in more along the surface of the ground and alongside the steer with a lower trajectory angle, which sets up a scooping or sweeping type delivery.
Your swing angle also has a part to play in which delivery style you use, because if your swing angle is fairly steep and you come out of the front side of your swing to start your delivery, the angle you’re coming out of your delivery from is more over the top of the steer’s hips. The trajectory angle is coming straight down for the loop to come into position. You’re trapping the steer’s feet more, because you’re having to set the loop down in front of the steer’s feet since you’re coming in from the top.
When you trap a steer, the last thing that has to happen as you’re delivering the bottom of the loop to the ground is rotating the loop around for the loop to land on its bottom along the surface of the ground. That way, the loop ends up more in front of the steer’s legs with the bottom of the loop on the ground and the top of the loop up in the hock area. Basically, the loop is open in front of the steer, so he can jump into it.
Quite a few of the top guys over the years have described that type of loop as what they try to deliver. You can develop that loop more by roping the dummy with the legs on the ground, where you’re setting the loop down in front of the legs. To practice the trap, most people rope the dummy on the ground. That’s how they develop that style, which works very well when you get it figured out. The trap may be the more difficult style to learn to accomplish, because of that steep angle on your loop.
The sweeping, scooping style of roping the feet in the air is just simply coming in from a different angle, which is more dropping out of the side or the back part of your swing, dropping your tip down around the right side near your right stirrup and sweeping it across the feet using the bottom of the loop. The bottom of the loop passes underneath the right and left legs, which allows the tip to go all the way across both feet. The loop plane is vertical, straight up and down.
In my opinion, that is one of the easiest styles to learn. Once you get the delivery angle of where to come in with your loop, and if you have your loop open when it gets to the base of the right leg, there’s a lot of tip to come across the feet based on the angle it’s coming in from.
There have been great ropers who’ve used one style or the other, and then there are a lot of guys who are in-between and have a little bit of trap tendencies in their delivery mixed in with some sweeping style too. I would consider my style to be a blend of both. There’s really no right or wrong way to deliver your loop. Like so many other aspects of roping, it’s about figuring out what works best for you and learning how to use the bottom of your loop to catch your steer.