When my barrel horse gelding tore a collateral ligament late in 2012, one of my worst fears – that my best and most treasured equine partner would suffer a serious injury, had come true.
After multiple Vet. visits, an MRI, and many long months, we eventually made it to the side of the recovery roller coaster – in large part because I refused to accept that we wouldn’t make it, but let me tell you it was very touch and go for a while!
One month from the moment I finally CHOSE to believe that “the odds” didn’t apply to us, even when things weren’t necessarily looking good, he was sound and well on his way to making a comeback.
These days, now that I’m armed not only with an even more firm belief in the power of positive expectation but also valuable scientific insights and powerful modern technology, I’ve chosen microcurrent as the therapy of choice to make sure he (and our other horses) stay that way.
With so many options out there, after much research and now impressive results in a very short period of time I’m especially enthusiastic about microcurrent or “electrical massage” as being one of the most effective options for supporting my barrel horse’s success in the arena and well-being in general. Read more… »
Conditioning for Quickness – Build Strength and Understanding to Unleash Your Barrel Horse’s Potential
You may have figured out by now that barrel racing isn’t quite as simple as it looks.
Speed especially, will throw us (and our horses) for a loop if we’re not careful.
Ensuring they’re adequately prepared to perform their best on the pattern starts with understanding the elements of SPEED (which I went into great depth on here).
It’s our responsibility as trainers and jockeys to not only be aware of our individual horses strengths and weaknesses but to embrace and take responsibility for enhancing their innate talents, as well as strengthening the weaker links.
Because of Dot Com’s extreme sensitivity for example, sometimes the communication between my body, Dot Com’s brain, and his feet gets a little “kink” in it you could say – that’s one of his “weaknesses.”
This doesn’t have so much to do with his physical ability, but his mental development – which is something I’m responsible for strengthening.
You see, we have to be aware and advanced enough to realize that what WE might consider “sensitive,” could more accurately be described as REACTIVE, AND most importantly, could be turned into RESPONSIVE, IF we take the correct steps!
While building strength IS an important and necessary part in developing quickness, if the channels of communication are not open and flowing, even the most beefed up barrel horse is going to leave us high and dry. Our horses must be STRONG, but they must also be confident, mentally connected, thinking, and willing to respond in a tiny fraction of a second, together WITH us, both body AND mind.
by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine
Ingrain this in your brain: Slow and right beats fast and wrong, but fast and right beats everything!
We’ve all seen it at a barrel race – a rider runs full blast down the alley and past the first barrel, the rest of the run is spent trying to regain timing and precision in an attempt to finish the pattern.
Then another gal barely canters in, but her approach, rate and turn are set up and executed perfectly. Guess who won? The ‘slow’ barrel racer. She didn’t waste time trying to gain back control of her horse on the pattern therefore she used less ground and less TIME.
Esteemed thoroughbred racing professional Chris McCaren says this is what it takes to make a great jockey: “It’s really basic – they (jockeys) have the greatest ability to stay out of the horse’s way to the highest degree.” This accomplished race horse jockey is no rookie to winning or speed.
What I really want to make a point of explaining what speed is and what it isn’t.
Speed IS what barrel racing is all about, speed IS what places you – and the less you stay out of your horse’s way the more speed you will incur. Speed is NOT whipping the lights out of your horse, speed is NOT catching wind off your saddle, speed does NOT necessarily require kicking at every stride.
Read more… »
If you jumped on a horse bareback in a round pen with no saddle or bridle, how confident would you feel in your ability to “go with the flow” and remain seated on that horse’s back as he loped around – as he was free to move when and however he wanted?
Now, I’m not saying you should go out and DO this, but just consider what it’d feel like. You might think – “Well if I just had a bridle rein, or even a lead rope connected to the halter on one side… OR a saddle horn to hang onto, or stirrups to balance in…” OR maybe you’d feel confident as long as you were on an easy going or familiar horse that responded well to body language?
Truth be told, most of us never learned to be great passengers before we aspired to become great barrel racers. When a horse zigs quickly, we have the tendency to zag. And if our ability to “go with the flow” is compromised (even a little bit), that means our passenger skills are lacking which ultimately means that our ability to jockey a barrel horse at top speed is too.
Andrea Otley knows exactly what type of specific challenges we often face on the road to better barrel racing!
In today’s post she’ll be sharing some lesser-known insights into understanding why the clock might not be stopping as you’d hope, as well what action steps are necessary to change that, AND make this your year to reach new heights (and speeds) on the pattern.
You’ve got the horse.
You’ve got the tack – the saddle, the pad, the bit, the training equipment.
The teeth are floated. The chiropractic work is done. The feeding program is top notch – only the best for your horse.
He’s well trained. He knows and loves his job.
He’s in the best shape of his life.
You’ve taken the lessons, read the articles, watched the DVDs and corrected any problems.
You’ve learned so much and practiced hard. You’re devoted, dedicated and determined. You want this so bad!
You fall asleep each night thinking of your approach to the first barrel, how awesome it feels as your horse runs home. You get butterflies just thinking about it.
You enter each barrel race with the same positive expectation you enter the alley with, but then your heart drops again as you hear your time.
WHY aren’t you WINNING?? Read more… »