Barrel Racing Tips Articles & Videos
One of the main reasons I ended up dividing up my first book (intended to include barrel racing exercises) into two parts, is because the “prerequisites” section was getting too darn long.
I decided that shortening it was simply not an option, and so Secrets to Barrel Racing Success was born. I wouldn’t have been doing anyone a service, if I had left out the lesser-known details that are so critical to the success of any exercise.
This might come as somewhat of a shock, but I’ll be honest with you – barrel racing exercises aren’t really THAT important.
Sure, barrel racing drills and exercises are a tool, but unless we know HOW to use them, they are useless. You see, the WAY we go about implementing exercises MATTERS. For example, if our horse has a tendency to weight himself more on his front end in the turns, as Madison’s horse does in this week’s Q&A below, then a certain exercise is NOT going to be the magic fix.
A horse that doesn’t use his hindquarters properly in a turn, probably doesn’t use his hindquarters properly in general. If we lack the awareness to notice that, AND the skills to influence a horse to use himself properly, we’re stuck. We can do exercises until our horse is blue in the face, but the less than ideal way of moving is likely to continue (and unfortunately become an even more solidified habit).
Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #13 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
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“Sore, or Sorry.” Ugh, the words of a fitness buff. I used to cringe a little at the thought.
Don’t get me wrong – by no means have I ever had a habit of spending much time sitting around on my keister, but for many years, I just wasn’t so inclined to participate (on a consistent basis) in the kind of physical activity that didn’t leave me in the end with cleaned pens, hay bales moved, or horse’s ridden.
If I’m exhausted from a killer workout, I might as well also be enjoying the sight of a barn full of neatly stacked hay.
Taking our barrel racing to the highest level though, calls for some new awareness, and a shift in perspective.
It’s great that we, as horse people, tend to get our fair share of physical activity in. But there’s something special, something different, we gain from specifically targeting why and how we exercise.
In our sport, the majority of the focus is placed on the horse. The truth is however, that we, as barrel racers are also athletes. So many of us miss the boat when it comes to realizing just what a huge difference strength and fitness can make.
Because gaining strength in your body, makes you stronger (and quicker) all-around. Read more
Listen to more on this topic in Episode #73 of the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
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We all know that the fastest path between two points is a straight line. Even one or two wasted steps between barrels can slow us down dramatically. If your barrel photo has every looked like the one shown above – then it’s possible your path between the barrels is not as straight and fast as is could be. Read more
Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #96 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn or Spotify.
In many cases, “hard to please horses” like the one Stefanie describes in the Q&A video below, who toss their head and gap their mouth, don’t have a bit problem.
As I state in my book, Secrets to Barrel Racing Success, the way we go about performing maneuvers, applying techniques and solving problems, matters. In many cases, it’s not the BIT, but HOW our horse responds to it, that we must be concerned with. If our horse is not responding in a way we would like, we need to ask WHY, and develop a solution from there.
This time of year, as intense rodeo action is playing out at stock shows nationwide, I’m reminded even more, that the horses who excel those little pens, with short runs and funny angles to the first barrel, are the horses that are especially soft and supple to bit pressure (and through their entire bodies). They not only especially excel in those more difficult set ups, they excel more in general.
Putting the odds in your favor requires a commitment to creating feather-light response to bit pressure. When you do, your horse is more likely to wrap around those barrels wickedly fast, even in less than ideal circumstances – leaving the stiff, resistant horses in the dust! Read more
Here we are – January 31st, 2012 and I honestly don’t have words (how rare is THAT?) to describe how excited I am to announce the release of my first book, Secrets to Barrel Racing Success!’
But rather than give you details on what’s included in it, today I wanted to share the story of how Secrets to Barrel Racing Success came to life…
To say that 2011 was a big year for me, well that’d be an understatement. I didn’t enter as many barrel races as most years, I didn’t get a new horse (I actually GAVE ONE AWAY)!
In fact, my barrel horse and I enjoyed making “the big circle” to check yearlings numerous times, and my most memorable moment with my horse was splashing around in a creek on a 100+ degree August day with a good friend, her horse and our dogs – what a blast!
What I’m getting to, without going into a lot of details, is that 2011 was HUGE for me personally, therefore it’s been HUGE for me in every other way.
This is especially true in the areas of horsemanship and barrel racing. After all, when we really learn and grow in a certain area, we expand in others as well. After an unforgettable summer, last fall I really started to release fear, and get clear.
Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #12 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.
“If you want your life to have impact, focus it! Stop dabbling. Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only that which matters most. Never confuse activity with productivity. You can be busy without a purpose, but what’s the point?” – Rick Warren
As we embark on a new year, are you full of renewed energy and enthusiasm for what lies ahead?
OR have some obstacles already presented themselves?
If you followed last month’s suggestions for determining what you want to BE, DO and HAVE to make your new year desires reality, then you might have created a plan of action steps and specific areas of learning to focus on.
Ditching “goals” and embracing desires does loosen things up a bit when it comes to all this planning. It creates a little more flexibility and releases the attachment to the end results. It means we stay true to our personal path, even IF changes course throughout the year.
Creating desires (instead of goals) also comes with the realization that through releasing such tight control on the future – we’re actually opening our lives up to success and experiences that are quite possibly even beyond our wildest dreams!
However, just because we’re not quite as controlling and rigid, doesn’t mean that we’re not specific, or that we don’t write things down and create structure to set ourselves up for success.
After all, the key to happiness and fulfillment is dependent upon the choices we make and how we spend our time.
So, what if a barrel racing desire is placed in your heart, and you develop a plan to make it reality…
AND THEN, as it so often does…
We’ve all been tempted…
We stumble across a barrel horse for sale with good looks or impeccable barrel racing bloodlines, and then – the PRICE! Too good to be true!? Maybe so, when it comes to horses with issues.
They might pull back, have the beginning of arthritis, signs of an old tendon injury, or they might (occasionally) buck, or have issues at the gate. The problems may be minor or major. They may be physical, mental or behavioral in nature (or most likely all of the above). Regardless,
there’s usually more to the issue than meets the eye.
It’s not uncommon for the outward symptoms to be just the tip of the iceberg. Under the surface there is often much more to be discovered.
The question is, are you ready and willing to handle any surprises that may be lying under the surface? Chances are there are some big gaps in the horse’s foundation, and truthfully it takes well developed skills and experience to properly and thoroughly fill in these gaps.
Everyone loves a fairytale story of an underdog horse and a rider that rise to victory against all odds. As much of a dreamer as I am, when it comes to horses with issues, I’m afraid it’s my duty to say that those cases are more exceptions than rules.
Ever feel like you might as well put a sign on your horse’s rear end that reads “Caution: This Equine Vehicle Makes Wide Turns!?”
A wide turn means covering extra real estate on the pattern, which results in drastically slower times.
Addressing this issue starts with coming to terms with a simple fact…
The Horse is Not Responding Appropriately to What Has Been Asked
The solution comes in determining WHY?
Two common causes of wide turns are:
#1 – Our horse is not taking responsibility for traveling in the direction we point them indefinitely. Keep in mind that the horse is really not at fault. It’s our responsibility as riders, to ensure our horse understands their responsibilities!
#2 – The horse does not have high level responsiveness to our hands and a solid foundational understanding of leg cues, making correcting their position on the pattern difficult. The truth is that speed changes everything, requiring more from horses in the barrel racing discipline than any other.
In the video below I describe these two points in detail and demonstrate what the level of responsiveness we’re after looks like. Below the video are some helpful how-to’s for developing this kind of responsiveness.
Be forewarned however, you’ll likely need a new sign – one that reads “Caution: Sharp Turns Ahead!” Read more