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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… »

FAST Times on Purpose – Three Exercises for Testing (and Teaching) Precision to Increase Speed

FAST Times on Purpose - Three Exercises for Testing (and Teaching) Precision to Increase Speed

The other day I watched a handful of runs from the video archives on my gelding, Pistol. Certain aspects of them got me really excited and other aspects were a little hard to watch because I feel like I have new “eyes to see” certain issues.

Let’s just say there were a couple Homer Simpson hand to the forehead “DOH” moments!

The same issues that were happening on the pattern in those videos are completely related to how Pistol “tests out” at home (more on that below).

As I wrap up my goals with Dot Com this month and shift more focus to preparing Pistol for competition after a long rehab from an injury and 2+ years away from competing, you can bet that I’m focusing on strengthening our weak areas as they relate to the barrel pattern so we’re more than READY when the time comes!

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Three Steps to Earn Your Spurs – How to Refine Education & Improve Results

Three Steps to Earn Your Spurs – How to Refine Education & Improve Results

by Kathleen Rossi of Integrated Equine

I will never forget the first time I witness my husband learn just how sensitive a horse can be. He was standing behind my mare brushing her tail, and I heard a loud POP followed by some even louder profanity. My man’s shin got in the way of my horse’s hoof reacting to a fly.

The horse-nerd in me first thought it was fascinating that a single fly could facilitate such a powerful action and response to a single limb without doing much more than landing on her! Then the wife-brain caught up with me, and I instructed him to use fly spray profusely before dwelling near hooves in the summer time. Lesson learned.

The point is, we know horses are sensitive. We see them out in the pasture, methodically shivering their skin and stomping their feet to rid themselves of pesky insects. We treat the welts left by mosquito bites, and spray repellent to lessen the annoyance of constant reaction to them landing on our horse’s hides. With this understanding of such sensitivity it’s important that we not only apply it to horse husbandry, but horsemanship as well. Read more… »

Horsemanship Before Sportsmanship – Eight Priorities that Pay Off

Horsemanship Before Sportsmanship - Eight Priorities that Pay Off

A couple weeks ago Kathleen started out this post hypothetically highlighting the “Four Barrel Racing Personality Types.” To roll out today’s new article, I’d like to break that down into an even more basic TWO types.

Even though my husband isn’t a barrel racer, his personality serves as a good example of Type B, while I’m Type A. When I appreciate our differences, I can’t help but think of the classic quote by Zig Ziglar – “You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.”

Craig’s a laid back, roll with the punches kind of guy. While he’s appreciating each moment, I can be found spinning in Tazmanian Devil-like swirls of mental activity and physical productivity. You can imagine why he’s actually a great match for his sensitive gelding, Dot Com (and ME). Craig operates with steady eddy-style energy that provides a lot of peace and reassurance for him.

It’s great when everyone’s feeling relaxed and content, but the warm fuzzies tend to fade when we’re not progressive. That’s where my specialty comes in, which is crushing goals, blasting through obstacles and chasing dreams – full-steam ahead! My succeed or else style can be pretty intense, no doubt. In fact over the years I’ve had to learn to tone it down. And as you might expect, Craig has learned to liven up!

I have a tendency to latch on to ideas like a dog on a bone, where Craig is slow to put a stake in any one belief. When it comes to caring for our horses and doing everything we can to bring out their best and achieve our barrel racing goals with them, I don’t think we can afford to sway too far either direction.

It doesn’t matter what “style” WE are – we’ve GOT to do our homework to find our own “north star.” But having balance and perspective means we must be willing to let it burn out and focus on another guiding light instead, when appropriate.

Below I’ve shared what I consider to be a set of eight powerful principles to guide you through life, horse training, competing and more.

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