Entries by Heather Smith

Release, Stretch, Relax, Repeat! Four Steps to Maximize Strength, Lengthen Stride & Increase SPEED

I have to admit in years past my pre and post-ride support routine was pretty minimal. If I had time or was feeling inspired I would sometimes stretch before a run and would try to cold hose or apply ice boots on after hard, strenuous work. I also tried to spend adequate time slowly warming…

Three Steps to Being Your Own (Part-time) Barrel Horse Bodyworker

You already know it’s more than a full-time job being a barrel racer – it’s MULTIPLE full-time jobs! Including, but not limited to – stall cleaner, nutritionist, truck driver, scheduler, horse trainer, equine behaviorist, Vet., massage therapist, and the list goes on! When you’re (understandably) feeling spread thin, it’s hard to find motivation to go…

How to Evaluate, Find and Enhance Saddle Fit for Faster Barrel Racing

When your run your hands down your horse’s back, does he tighten, flinch, shrink away or spasm? Is there atrophy behind the withers or depressions where your horse’s shoulders have rotated forward? Are you dealing with stubborn soreness or lameness issues that seem to need constant management? Is your horse’s topline less round and full…

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…

Improve Horse and Human Posture for more Power (and Traction) 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…