Practice on hay bales before looking for a cow to lasso.

Most people know a lariat as a lasso, but the word "lasso" actually refers to the act of throwing the looped end of a lariat. It can take years of practice to learn to rope a cow, but anyone can throw a flat-loop in a matter of minutes.

Slip your rope through the small loop at the end of the lariat called the honda. Form a noose approximately 1 to 2 feet in diameter.

Hold the loop lightly in your right hand a foot or so from the honda. Coil the rest of the lariat in your left hand, leaving 5 to 6 feet of kink-free rope between the noose and the coil.

Position yourself in front of a target. A bale of hay with a long stick wedged in it makes a good target as it will not tip over easily. You also can place two sturdy pieces of lumber in the front of the bale to simulate horns.

Relax your wrist and slowly begin to swing the rope over your head, right to left. Experts ropers suggest thinking of your wrist as an axle and the lariat's loop as a wheel revolving horizontally over and around your head.

Swing your arm quickly forward to cast the loop. As you move your arm forward bring your wrist down to shoulder level and extend your arm. Do not interfere with the motion of the lariat. Let your palm open and swing the loop toward the target.

Maintain a smooth, steady rhythm as you cast. Keep your arm and wrist straight and extended toward the target. The force you use to thrust the loop forward plays a role in how far the lariat goes.

Pull the length of lariat coiled in you left hand to tighten the loop around your target.

Things Needed

  • ['Lariat', 'Target']


  • It can take a few tries to get the knack of twirling the lariat over your head. Like tossing a baseball, the secret to throwing a lariat is all in the wrist.