For some, money is an taboo topic you just don’t talk about.
But barrel racers know it can make or break you.
What’s not shared, can’t help others. Silence keeps us stuck.
So for the greater good, let’s just dive in and put it all on the table, shall we?
When I think of the most important piece of advice I could offer someone for funding their barrel racing dreams, or just adequately preparing for the next season, it’s this: No matter how enthusiastic, obsessed or legitimately talented or skilled you OR your horses are - DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE.
My husband once had a roping partner who would hock one of his saddles at a pawn shop on the way to the rodeo so he could afford to enter, then buy it back on the way home with his winnings. As funny as this is looking back, I don’t recommend it!
Much like the first steps for creating sanity-saving and goal-reaching SYSTEMS to make the most of our time, we also need to start in this area with a reality check. After all, you can’t manage time OR money well, that you don’t have.
Now I totally support the notion of “dreaming the impossible dream,” and making it come true, but let’s NOT be tempted to put the cart before the horse.
Barrel racing is a gamble, the competition is tough and the odds aren’t usually in our favor.
If you LOVE running barrels, and if you’re serious about running barrels and competing at a high level, then there’s some leg work to do.
It all starts with getting a realistic look at your finances, determining where adjustments are necessary, then making a plan to stay on track.
This step must come before we get all starry-eyed about upcoming events on the calendar. This is because the funds you have to support yourself (and your horses) will determine just how far, and often you’ll go.
For example, investing in a top barrel horse or going “crazy” (by some standards) to purchase a trailer worth more than your house is NOT necessarily a bad idea. But it IS a REALLY bad idea to do so on credit in a way that spreads your budget dangerously thin, especially with the notion that you’ll just pay it off with all your “winnings.”
It’s not too likely to happen that way. Horses get hurt, and “stuff” happens. A much more rational (yet unusual), way to go about it is to actually do the prep work first.
Building wealth and the financial freedom to rodeo requires conscious spending, consistent saving, and especially – living well within your means.
While it’s best to get a good start on this when you’re young, it’s never too late and it doesn’t have to take forever. When you embark on this less-traveled road, it’s essentially going to be a journey that’s filled with much more enjoyment, healthier, happier relationships in AND out of the arena, and much less stress.
“If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else.”
– Dave Ramsey
I will always encourage you to DREAM BIG, and commit to making those dreams reality, not just by saddling up, but by actually putting in the time and effort to build a financial foundation that successful barrel racing, healthy horses, your peace of mind, and more can rest upon.
Getting Started (or restarted) is Simple: On a piece of paper or in an Excel spreadsheet (like these) record your income and expenses. This includes all the monthly bills you pay plus categories for any other regular areas of spending.
Getting everything down in writing is critical. The biggest mistake people make with finances is that they don’t pay close attention to where their money is going, which eventually leads them to wondering where it all went!
It’s easy to resist this part, because some of us may not really want to face the reality that will come along with crunching the numbers. But living in fantasy land is never a way to go. Whether we’re “too busy,” in denial, or simply forget, the truth is that if our current financial state isn’t pretty, procrastinating or ignoring it won’t cause it to improve – and certainly won’t get us closer to living our barrel racing dreams.
If you despise bookkeeping, make it fun – put on some nice music, pour yourself a glass of wine (or water if you’re wanting to save $) and sit down to do the math. Make it a priority.
Of course, if you’ve been around horses long enough, you know that it’s seemingly impossible to live on a very strict budget because unplanned expenses come up and vary based on the season. Do your best. You may need to share funds between categories, which is OK as long as you’re tracking it and not spending beyond your limits.
Now comes the fun part. Once you have a basic budget set up, it’s time to crunch another set of numbers. Think about the “must attend” events in the coming year and calculate estimated expenses for each major trip, OR an average “cost per week” if you’ll be on the road for a while. Look up the entry fees, calculate the fuel (click here for a fuel cost calculator), stalls, meals, feed, estimated Vet/horse health bills, then add on some “buffer funds” for the unexpected or unplanned travel expenses.
Take a look at your new or freshly updated budget and determine how much income you have available to put into your barrel racing fund. How far will it get you? Plan your schedule of MUST GO events based on the funds you have available and the expenses involved. Then, add some tentative dates to your schedule where your attendance will depend on how you do at your “must go” events.
Traveling a couple hours to just one weekend barrel race with two horses can end up costing well over $500. That’s reality. If you’re like most people, you’ll be rather shocked at just how many expenses are involved and how little you have left over from your income after bills are paid. If you’re living paycheck to paycheck, something needs to change. What do you need to do for that amount to grow?
Don’t let this discourage you, but motivate you to make some adjustments!
When it comes to improving your financial picture, there are only two ways to do it – cut spending or increase earning (or both). Now, I don’t intend for you to live on Ramen noodles, but for most people there’s plenty of room to drop unnecessary expenses.
What do you REALLY want, and how bad do you want it?
Are you willing to trade what you want right now, for what you want most?
Can you adjust your mindset as you do, so that you don’t feel like you’re being deprived? Your goal here is lower or cut expenses where possible, spend smart, work toward increasing your income if necessary, and start socking money away into a barrel racing fund.
If saving is a challenge, I recommend setting up an option on your back account that automatically deducts your bill payments and also transfers funds into your savings each month. Pay yourself first by making automatic, non-negotiable deductions into “untouchable” savings.
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself IF you have the excess funds to do so. If you think this will be tough to do, think about the emotions that drive your desire to purchase things that aren’t necessities such as certain food, clothing, or other “stuff.”
Are you trying to keep up with the Jones’? Are your choices driven by concern of what other people think? Do you need more “all natural sweetness” in your life instead of a sugary dessert, or SLEEP instead of a caffinated latte? Do you use food or material things to fill an internal void? Be brave enough to dig under the surface.
Winners seek the truth and are brave enough to face their own inner and outer roadblocks head on.
I have spent more than eight months in the last two years living in a horse trailer or a tiny hotel room. In all honesty – I didn’t miss my “stuff” at all!
Less is SO MUCH MORE, on many levels.
To raise funds to foot your barrel racing, consider selling off tack or any household items you don’t love or use often. Of course, remember your time is valuable as well – don’t spend an hour creating an E-bay ad for a $5 item. Donate it to the Salvation Army, which helps declutter your space and mind as well.
If you’re in debt with numerous loan payments, put a freeze on any unnecessary spending, which may mean staying home for a while while you get rolling with a debt snowball. Do the math to determine how long it will take to drastically reduce debt and get some savings established. Look closely at those interest rates. If you have a high interest credit card, for every $100/month payment you send in, you may only be paying off $10 on the balance.
You know what you can do with your income when you don’t have any payments, right?
Anything you want!
Carry a loan on your truck and trailer if you must, but I highly recommend making it a goal to pay off your rig so you can buy more fuel! Also, don’t buy more than you really need. After all, a fancy rig you can’t afford to pull out of the driveway isn’t much good, right?
Especially focus on your INCOME as you move forward – really appreciate every single dollar that comes in knowing that what you focus on, expands.
Adopt an attitude of gratitude, focus on what you DO have.
While you need to be realistic about any lack you’re dealing with, don’t fearfully obsess over it to the point of letting your mind spin with discouraging thoughts.
Rather than allow yourself to have an internal pout over “going without,” do everything you can to purposefully stay positive and motivated through this process (make that lifestyle change). If you’re not able to travel with your barrel buddies for a while, keep in mind that it’s not because you “can’t afford it” – it’s that you’ve made a conscious choice to take your life and barrel racing to a higher level.
Make saving money and being creative and resourceful a fun challenge, like a game! Can you go a whole week on a spending freeze other than absolute necessities and bills? Two weeks? Really think about the difference between want and need.
For expenses like groceries, my husband and I have just started using what good ol’ Dave Ramsey recommends – the envelop system. We budget so much $ for groceries, and whatever we don’t spend at the store we can use to eat out that month. This way, we don’t inadvertently go overboard in this area, which is very easy to do.
Slowing down and simplifying our life has been a great help too – it’s hard to be conscious about spending when you’re head is spinning in survival mode day to day. It takes conscious, consistent attention to stay on track. Don’t let the craziness of life let your spending get out of control or cause you to lose sight of the state of your accounts, OR your dreams!
What you may give up by sticking to a budget and saving each month in the short term, you’ll gain ten-fold in the long term. It’s a lot like the benefits of healthy eating; you’re not denying yourself the pleasure good-tasting junky food – you’re giving yourself the gift of health, mental clarity, energy and a positive outlook!
It’s all about perspective.
You may sit out on a dinner with friends, but for every time you bow out and say NO to an invitation, you’re actually saying YES to what’s most important to you. Don’t lose sight of that – your dreams are not only possible, but well worth pursuing and making sacrifices for!
Remember that creating financial freedom requires a mental shift. By reining in your spending and saving up to run barrels, you’re giving yourself, your family and your horses the most amazing gift – the opportunity to live your dreams with less struggle and worry.
Competing can be tough enough as it is, and life on the road is not for the faint hearted – don’t let lack of finances create even more stress and strain.
Be bold enough to face your financial truth, and pay close attention to it. Value yourself and value your goals – whatever changes you have to make now, will be worth it.
I’m not perfect and by no means have it all figured out, but if I can start where I did, get where I am, AND go where I’m going, then so can you.
It does not matter where you are today, or where you started from.
God put those dreams in your heart for a reason, and I’m confident he’ll even help you with the financial end of things as well – IF you ask Him.
You can do this. You CAN get ahead and challenge the status quo.
Do the work, trust and have faith.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!
What are YOUR challenges surrounding money, and what tips can you share?
P.S. Stay tuned for a new Pro Membership post next week on the subject of securing sponsorships!
Also enjoy these resources for getting on the fast track to financial freedom:
- RodeoLog Barrel Racing Log Book
- What it Takes to Make NFR Barrel Racing Dreams Come True
- Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University or Total Money Makeover
- Books, Bootcamp and FREE Resources from Denise Duffield-Thomas
- Any books by Barbara Stanny such as Overcoming Underearning or Sacred Success
- Learn, Earn, Turn & Burn – How to Create a Lifestyle That Supports Your Barrel Racing Dreams
I came across this quote the other day from Jim Rohn…
“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”
It IS easy, isn’t?
To just keep doing what we’re doing, all without getting 100% clear on where we’re going, what we need to DO and who we need to BE to get there.
Change is hard. But what’s harder in the long run is not growing, not progressing and rising to meet your potential, and that of your horse’s.
Which is why we all must get in the habit of being very intentional and purposeful when it comes to being who we were put on this Earth to be.
“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin
With the help of structural support systems, we can stay focused and avoid the painful roller coaster of frustration or regret.
Instead, I encourage you to use the tips and ideas I’ve shared in the video below as guidance and inspiration to create your own “systems” for getting and STAYING on the fast track to BIG TIME barrel racing success!
I’m on a mission to seek and destroy!
Specifically the roadblocks that are holding YOU back from achieving the barrel racing success you so deeply desire.
Now let me begin by assuring you that I’m ALL for focusing on the positive, accentuating what’s going well, and for polishing up you and your horse’s pre-existing talents and skills.
But I’m also a realist.
“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward
I don’t want you keep riding around the arena without a realistic understanding of WHY you’re not clocking, and specifically what you need to DO to change that.
That’s why as I get started on my NEW Pro Membership series this month, I want to be brutally honest with you.
A friend told me the other day that she appreciated my “No BS way of getting stuff done.”
Isn’t that nice?
I had to laugh, because while due to my overwhelming enthusiasm and purposeful positivity I can come across almost Pollyannish, at the same time my feet are always touching the hard ground of reality.
So in realistic spirit, today I’ll be sharing FOUR of the most common, but lesser-known reasons barrel racers get off track – so you can avoid (or correct) them!
The first is poorly developed, OR the complete absence of structural systems of support.
Without well developed support systems, barrel racers may lack the clarity, focus, drive & determination it takes to be competitive.
The truth is, that while some of what it takes to be awesome at running barrels IS hard, I’d venture to say that most of the work it requires is not necessarily hard, but does require a high degree of commitment and consistency.
So often, even where there is inspiration and good intentions, there lacks follow through. Ever wonder WHY this is? What’s really underneath a seeming lack of discipline?
One issue I’m aware of, is that some individuals just aren’t wired innately to be super hard driving achievement junkies. People like my husband Craig (bless his heart) are “free spirits” whose thoughts and actions seem to blow around with the changing wind.
He likes visiting with the neighbors, he’s good at “stopping to smell the roses.” He sometimes starts projects without finishing them and gets easily side tracked. While being “IN the moment” is a great thing, getting lost in it can distract Craig from his goals and long term vision.
They say that nature is always trying to balance itself out and that opposites attract, which I’m sure is why we ended up together!
While it’s hard for him to finish things, it’s hard for me not to. My social life leaves a lot to be desired because I’m so ultra-focused on my horses, my projects, my goals, etc. As much as I love food, I have to set alarms on my phone to remind myself to eat lunch.
I know what I want, so I make plans and impeccably follow through with them – sometimes to the point of exhaustion or sacrificing other areas of my life due to my intense tunnel vision.
Obviously, Craig and I are both very different. Even though I happen to LOVE organization, planning, checklists and systems, and he despises them, you can see that we BOTH need them to stay on track.
If Craig doesn’t have a plan and a system to remind him to follow through, he’ll forget and lose focus. If I don’t have a plan and a system, I’ll get so focused on certain details, that I’ll neglect others.
Due to his innate personality characteristics, Craig brings positive qualities to the arena that I don’t – ones that I have to intentionally develop as skills, and vice versa.
What I’m getting to is that one REAL reason people “seem” to lack clarity, focus, drive and determination is because they simply lack specific, measurable, actionable goals AND the structured support systems and positive reminders necessary to follow them to fruition.
Neither of us are right or wrong, we both need some form of structure and support, but for different reasons. No matter what your personality style is, the odds for staying on a constant upward spiral to barrel racing success is more likely if you do too!
There’s a second BIG reason why I believe we get motivated and then our internal sparks slowly die down into smoldering embers where flames once existed.
Which is that we may have weak areas in our physical, mental or emotional foundations.
You’ll notice that I haven’t even begun to talk about what we do with our horses in the arena. That’s because there’s a lot of inner work that must be done before our outer work even has a chance to create the positive results we’re after.
The inner issues aren’t always the most obvious, which is why I feel it’s important to call attention to them.
Often our motivation and consistency seems to ebb and flow because we’re simply not intentional enough about getting UP and staying UP!
When I say UP, I mean at our best – on ALL levels.
The quality of what you put out matches the quality of what you take in. This means your thinking, your words, the company you keep, the foods you eat, the music you listen to, the ways in which you spend your time, etc.
Do YOU have habits established for how you live your life that help you to FEEL GOOD about yourself and your life – across the board?
Because, when you FEEL GOOD – you’ll DO GOOD!
Having mental and physical energy and a positive attitude doesn’t just happen to people who are “lucky.” Reading a couple personal development books per year won’t get you UP and keep you there, just like a two month gym membership won’t build strength and maintain fitness.
“People often say that motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does bathing – that’s why we recommend it daily.” – Zig Ziglar
This is something we ALL have to be conscious of and purposeful about every single day – always keeping our antenna up for perceiving how what we do and say affects who we are, how we FEEL, how we show up in the world, and how we clock in a run.
So often people point to the horse or the ground conditions – they’ll pick things apart and find fault in ALL the typical places, but end up totally blind to the fact that they’re losing every day in a million little ways before they ever show up to the barrel race.
Winners possess a heightened degree self-awareness for recognizing what’s holding them back, and a willingness to release what doesn’t work.
My point here is that it’s critical to take intentional action every day to be at your best rather than resorting to auto-pilot. At the same time, if you’re truly holding up your part of the deal and still not feeling and doing great – with as much tenacity as you can muster, keep searching, keep asking questions, keep digging until you find answers.
The same goes for our horses. We can’t bring out their greatest potential if we just “let” things happen – we must intentionally cause and allow instead (there’s a difference).
Be purposeful about doing the work, and when a roadblock appears – be honest, be brave, dig deeper, face the fear, and seek the truth at it’s source to dissolve that barrier.
“Resistance finders are in search of the truth. Resistance avoiders don’t want to know.” – Craig Johnson
Lastly, I’m going to dive into a third of four all too common roadblocks, which is poor management OF, and a poor relationship TO time.
TIME can be a particularly challenging area, and if you’re anything like me you’ve engaged in a fair amount of brutal mental wrestling matches surrounding the frustrating belief that “there’s never enough!”
But we ALL have the same 24 hours in a day. And while we don’t all have equal talent and resources, etc. I know of plenty of people who have been able to utilize their time well, even without these things only to reach higher levels of success much quicker than those who do.
When we finally get to the point where we’re ready to give up the fight for “time” and claim NO CONTEST, we realize that there was really nothing to fight over.
We accept that being a champion at anything can take YEARS, and while an inner knowing that our days and years ARE numbered (which should create some sense of urgency), we also realize that cramming too much into each day, and the negative emotions that result when we do, is NOT the fastest way to help our barrel racing dreams materialize.
When we’re motivated to achieve success for the right reasons, we come to terms with the fact that our dreams may not happen today or tomorrow, but will happen IF we stick to the course day by day.
There’s a great deal of contentment in that.
“The value of anything can be determined by how much of your time you are willing to trade for it.” – Brian Tracy
What you resist, persists. When you’re unaccepting of the “lack of time” you seem to have, somehow you’ll end up with even less of it. When you keep fretting over it, saying out loud or to yourself, “I don’t have TIME!” you only invest even more in the frustrating cycle rather than seeking real solutions.
Time, like money, isn’t good or bad – it’s what we make of it. And our feelings toward it, especially a fear of lack, will certainly effect how much we enjoy, or don’t enjoy.
Instead release, prioritize, streamline, and be realistic about what it’s going to take to get to where you want to go and commit to honoring your dreams by making the time they’ll require a top priority rather than an afterthought, or dedicating only whatever time is left over in what is most likely an already over-booked schedule.
Your dreams deserve more than leftovers!
While it’s true that you can’t always do everything, you can always do something.
Put in the time, use it to the best of your ability, drop what’s not important, and the results will come.
Not necessarily in your time, but in the right time. There’s peace in that, and a peaceful, unrushed heart and mind is so much more able to effectively connect and communicate with horses – and those little, seemingly insignificant everyday wins are what REALLY add up in the long run.
Next week, I’ll be sharing a special Pro Members-only video post with more specifics about the type of baseline we all need to establish in preparation for making the next barrel racing season the best one ever!
I’d love for you to join me as we prepare this foundation, and in next week’s video I’ll be sharing with you the personal details that have and will continue to make my own success, and yours possible.
Later this month you can also look forward to much more content specifically dedicated to the FOURTH barrier – which is poor management OF, and relationship TO MONEY!
Financial limitations is such a big one, and so seldomly addressed that I’ll be specifically focusing on funding your barrel racing dreams over the course of two full posts!
In closing, to summarize today’s article, keep these four tips in mind for dissolving barrel racing barriers:
- Create a structural system of support – a plan & reminders to keep you on track.
- Develop a strong physical, mental and emotional foundation. FEEL GOOD = DO GOOD!
- Invest in good management of, and the relationship you have to TIME, and…
- MONEY (more on that soon in the new BarrelRacingTips.com Pro Membership)!
Remember, the first step toward positive change is awareness – what are the barriers holding YOU back from achieving your barrel racing goals?
What inner AND outer work will you start doing to dissolve them going forward? Let me know in the comments below!
For even more resources relating to today’s post, you’ll also enjoy:
As I mentioned last week, my intentions in the coming months are to really marinate and soak in all the learning experiences I’ve immersed myself in during the last couple YEARS, and apply them on an even deeper level with my personal horses.
This will ALL be done in preparation for my return to competition next summer. But I won’t be the only one hitting rodeo road – I’ll be helping my husband and Dot Com get their game on too!
I’d love for YOU to join me on this journey – creating happy, healthy timed speed event horses that feel great, LOVE their job, and DO it very well!
You know, barrel racing isn’t something we have to do TO our horses, it can be something we actually do FOR and WITH our horses (there’s a difference). When we go about it this way, reaching our greatest potential (and theirs) is the natural result.
Sure, I could give Pistol a good ol’ barrel horse tune up and enter in a few weeks, but I’m not interested in being average or mediocre, and I know YOU aren’t either.
I’m empowered now in ways that I never have been before, to soar to new heights – and honestly it’s going to take time for ALL the elements to come together.
Which reminds me of a few years ago, when I did several “40 day practices.” It was a form of personal development that anyone can do, any time to really dive into and learn about a specific topic, become more aware, and make lasting changes to release and replace old habits that no longer serve us.
So while it’s common to specifically embark on a 40 DAY practice, many experts believe that changing a habit only takes 21 days. Well, I’m going to meet in the middle in the coming months and dive into several specific areas 30 DAYS at a time – and you’re welcome to come along!
Here’s what I have in mind: Read more… »
The epidemic of micromanagement in the horse world is something I’ve touched on a few times here at BarrelRacingTips.com.
But there’s another dangerous destroyer of barrel racing dreams lurking in the timed speed event world.
It’s the crazy-making cycle that occurs between responsiveness and reactivity that we all too common get stuck in.
For many years, everything in the way I’d been developing my horses looked great, way above average you could say.
But on the inside I was frustrated and on the outside, I wasn’t clocking as consistently as I would have liked.
After a few consecutive light bulb moments, I discovered a missing link.
But it’s not just MY missing link. It’s very likely yours too.
This is what it looks like… Read more… »
If you’ve been following the action at BarrelRacingTips.com for a while, you know that I often stress the importance of instilling an education in horses that allows us to move their body anywhere, at any time.
We must have a high degree of understanding, communication and responsiveness to have influence over our horse’s body position at speed especially.
Although some barrel racers don’t want their horses too bendy and “gumby-like,” what’s most likely happening in these cases is that the horse is not taking responsibility for staying perfectly on track – causing a need for the rider to micromanage the horse through the turns.
There’s an problem of epidemic proportions in the timed speed event world.
All because of this little thing called “connection.”
It’s what winning runs are made of.
Connection (lack of it, specifically) is so often what stands between shaving that last half second off… or NOT clocking, yet again.
It’s no surprise that an understanding of true connection, and HOW to create it goes under the radar.
Two years ago, in “Get Connected to Shave Time Off the Clock,” I started sharing insight on this subject, as well as three exercises for getting on the same page with your horse.
Like the layers of an onion, true dedication to never ending self-development means that I’ve taken my understandings in this area even deeper since then.
First, let’s consider that in the timed speed event world especially, we’re all on a strict, unforgiving timeline.
From the beginning of our young horse’s development, we’re already thinking about how to get things done – FAST.
With the end in mind, we either don’t know, or simply forget to use our energy and focus – to offer a horse a FEEL, to set it up and wait.
When we fail to do this, we fall into a rut of drilling instead of teaching.
In the process we end up training our horse’s bodies without really training their minds. Read more… »
In today’s article, I’ll be sharing my two cents on what has become somewhat of a controversial issue in the barrel horse and performance world. Before I begin, I’ll say that it’s not my goal to specifically determine what’s best for you and your horses but to share what I’ve learned as licensed Vet. Tech., a long time barrel racer, and a natural trimmer for over eight years.
My education in this area began at a young age. Barefoot horses suited my needs as a youngster, and with corrective trimming even my foundered rescue pony was brought back to complete health.
Many years later when my horses were shod (mainly for protection from rocky trails in the Big Horn Mountains), soundness issues started coming up. This also happened to be when the natural hoof care movement was gaining steam. After quite a bit of research backed by my already existing education, I decided to be my horse’s advocate, and took matters (and a rasp) into my own hands.
I restored my horses to soundness and continued to learn, trim and compete barefoot for many years with great success. I appreciated how effective natural hoof care was for completely eliminating cracks, chips, flares, and for supporting and maintaining truly healthy feet from the inside out.