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Start Strong to Finish FAST – Catch the Correct Lead for a Stress-Free Alley Set Up Every Time

Start Strong to Finish FAST – Catch the Correct Lead for a Stress-Free Alley Set Up Every Time

The degree of responsiveness we NEED at the gate is NOT conditional – it HAS to hold up in any and all circumstances, even (and especially) when energy and adrenaline is high.

For some it’s not quite responsiveness that’s a problem, but the horse’s emotional stability. Ever catch yourself tip toeing around ever so subtly as you ask your horse to get in position because he’s SO reactive at the gate that he’s borderline unpredictable?

If that’s the case it’s a different kind of problem, yet it also needs to be addressed before we can truly be set up for a successful run in the alley.

I addressed both these issues and more in today’s NEW Pro Members video post.

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Mental Competition Tips from the Top – So You Can Get There Too!

Mental Competition Tips from the Top - So You Can Get There Too!

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

Are you a winner or a whiner?

In order to play physically, we’ve got to be on our mental game!

It’s just three barrels. How hard could it be, right?

Literally stationary objects on the same pattern in each arena, on a relatively flat surface, with a timer as the judge. Yet, we can still freeze up? HOW!?

We barrel racers know the struggle is real. Alley drama, blanking out during a run, and busted confidence on a sloppy pattern can ruin our week. Well, I say: no more! No more showing up unprepared, no more weak mental game, and no more self-esteem problems related to tipped barrels.

Below I’ve visited advice from three decorated equine professionals with some of the best insights for keeping your arena game strong, as well as offered some of my own tips for keeping the cans and your confidence UP. Read more… »

Improve Horse and Human Posture for more Power (and Traction) on the Pattern

Improve Horse and Human Posture for more Power on the Pattern

The other day I was reading about some of the conditioning programs of top barrel racers, as well as reflecting back on my notes with suggestions from some veterans. They each talked about how many miles they go or minutes they spend at the walk, trot, then lope, etc. in each workout.

While it’s good to monitor this and have systems for keeping us on track, if we just trot and lope around without much focus on HOW our horse’s are moving and HOW we can help them move more correctly, when the time comes to enter up we might be leaving money on the table, or worse yet leaving our faces in the dirt. When a horse takes a digger, while it may also be a legitimate case of the ground not being prepared properly, more often than not it’s that the horse hasn’t been prepared properly.

Of course movement alone CAN condition a horse, but if you’re developing a horse for a specific event, with specific challenges (like less than ideal ground conditions) then it requires a more specific program. If your horse has certain tendencies, whether related to how he’s put together, or how he’s been trained and ridden, or even damaged and injured in the past, all this requires that we adjust our program based on our horse’s individual needs, AND make sure it’s in alignment with our goals and supportive of our horse’s long term well-being.

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Balance the Responsibility/Responsiveness Ratio for More Efficiency on the Barrel Pattern

How to Balance the Responsibility/Responsiveness Ratio for More Efficiency on the Barrel Pattern

As barrel racers – we’re conditioned to believe that “practice makes perfect” and that “repetition” is how we and our horses learn.

But I’m calling us out on that today.

You see, doing the same thing over and over and over, like walking, then trotting and loping the pattern for say, three months to start a barrel horse might be a recipe for disaster, IF you’re not doing it in the right WAY.

REPETITION ALONE DOES NOT TEACH HORSES. Read more… »

Hauling Do’s & Don’ts: Avoid the Pitfalls to Arrive (and Stay) at Your Best

Hauling Do’s & Don’ts: Avoid the Pitfalls to Arrive (and Stay) at Your Best

If there are pessimists, optimists and realists, then I tend toward the latter. I believe in expecting the best, but preparing for the worst.

After all, if “the worst” is gonna happen, it’ll probably be in the most inconvenient and untimely places, such as when we’re traveling and competing with our horses!

Take a look at this quote by William Arthur Ward – “The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”

Which one of the three is the action taker here?

Which one are YOU?

In today’s video, we’re gonna talk breakdowns and meltdowns, specifically how to deal with them in advance and even how to avoid them entirely when you’re on the road.

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How to Pick Your Traveling Partner (Not Your Poison)

How to Pick Your Traveling Partner Not Your Poison
Girls in rodeo may run on fumes, but professional women of rodeo rule the road.

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

It doesn’t matter if you’re watching the Country Music Awards, the Super Bowl, or the WNFR – you will notice a common theme during the famed awards ceremony acceptance speech: champions showing gratitude for the support they’ve received.

Barrel racing and rodeo is a pretty unique sport. We barrel racers have to have athleticism, team-man-ship, and perseverance to hit the highway during busy summer months. Other professional athletes have the luxury of flying first class, with team pricing on airfare, in-flight movies, and a water boy. Although only one person takes the victory lap in the rodeo arena, big wins are not achieved without the help of many two and four legged supporters.

Hauling with a traveling partner or “buddy” can be a great way to create a more firm foundation of support as you work together toward accomplishing your dreams on rodeo road. If you’re allergic to drama, catty behavior and negativity like Heather and I are, then we’d like to give you some suggestions for picking your partner – not your poison! Read more… »

Enter to WIN: How to Pick and Prepare For Varying Competition Environments

Enter to WIN: How to Pick and Prepare for Competition Environments to Gain Confidence One Run at a Time

One of the greatest benefits of traveling and competing a lot is that it gives you a TON of perspective. When you’ve “been there, done that,” you have plenty of different environments to compare, helping you to build a mental Rolo-dex of successes, mistakes, and “I won’t do that agains!” It’s ALL feedback that prepares us to make better decisions and do better next time.

Regardless of how many runs, miles and years you have under your belt, below I’ve shared some valuable tips for sizing up your options and making smart choices when it comes to when and where you decide to enter.

First, how far and often you head out the driveway is largely a financial decision. Let’s face it – in the sport of barrel racing, the chances of coming home with pockets fuller than when you left are not great. This article however was written to help you change those odds and tip them more in your favor!

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Lessons from the Road: Three Steps to Embrace Challenges, Build Character and Create a Winning Edge

Lessons from the Road: Three Steps to Embrace Challenges, Build Character and Create a Winning Edge

When it comes to achieving excellence in any area of life, it’s not a matter of IF we’ll face challenges, but WHEN. Contrary to what some of us may think (especially when we’re feeling discouraged), it’s not the actual challenges that hold us back, but how we handle them.

Take Amberly Snyder for example. Did you know she clocked her fastest time on the barrel pattern AFTER the car accident that left her paralyzed from the waist down? Pretty amazing. Consider for a moment how EASY it is to convince ourselves “Well, I can’t do this because __this happened__.” We’re often so quick to tell ourselves stories about how and why we can’t do something, even more so when adversity strikes.

Don’t get me wrong, of course we’re all faced with legitimate limitations at times. But our mess can become our message, and our setback can shape our comeback.

In today’s first installment of Lessons From the Road, I’ll be sharing three steps to make it more likely that the journey to achieving your barrel racing goals will be a steady climb, regardless of obstacles and setbacks that will inevitably get in your way. Read more… »