Barrel Racing Tips Articles & Videos
Cayla Melby Small may be an NFR Rookie, and the 2016 WPRA Rookie of the year, but she’s no newbie to barrel racing. As the daughter of 2-time NFR Qualifier Jane Melby, Cayla has been in the saddle competing with the goal to make the NFR at age 18 since she was just a toddler.
Rodeo is a family affair for Team Melby, and the family just got bigger when Cayla married Zac Small this October, who is also a 2016 NFR first timer on the heading side in the team roping (check out hashtag #TwoSmallsGoingBiginVegas). The insights Cayla shared below about her horses, her season, favorite products and more give us a fun sneak peek into the life and times of a “rookie” professional on rodeo road!
Even if 80’s metal isn’t your favorite genre of music, and the band name ‘Autograph’ doesn’t ring a bell, you’re still likely to be familiar with the line, “Turn up the RADIO” that also bears the song’s namesake (click here to jog your memory.)
Judging by the lyrics, the rock ‘n roll lifestyle doesn’t seem so far off that of an NFR barrel racer: Read more
She may have qualified in the fifteenth spot, but even as an NFR Rookie Amber Moore has every reason to be confident. Below she’s shared insights from her amazing 2016 season and offered valuable advice for those of us who’d love to follow in her boots as an NFR barrel racing qualifier! Read more
The top 15 WPRA barrel racing qualifiers have arrived in Las Vegas, and will soon be blasting down the alley at the Thomas & Mack. In anticipation of the rodeo action, I’m excited to share their reflection on at the 2016 season, and what we can expect to see in this years race to the gold buckle.
So before the gates open, let’s dive in and get to know these these amazing women and their horses (including pedigrees) who will entertain, educate and inspire us – at the 2016 NFR and beyond! Read more
After making the cross country move from northern Wyoming to central Texas in 2013, I had several quality options when it came to selecting a primary veterinarian in our area that would oversee our horse’s care.
I was familiar with Dr. Marty Tanner and knew he was the vet. of choice for several NFR barrel racers. As someone with BIG barrel racing goals, it didn’t take long to decide and get established with him at Elgin Veterinary Hospital in Elgin, Texas.
Dr. Tanner was named the 2016 Zoetis PRCA Veterinarian of the Year in recognition of his extraordinary dedication, commitment and service to the well-being of professional rodeo livestock.
An article by Matt Naber in the ProRodeo Sports News quoted PRCA World Champion Tie Down Roper Monty Lewis as saying, “He is one of the best performance horse veterinarians in North America, and we are very blessed that he gives the rodeo community so much attention. With his renowned facility and his progressive and innovative approach, he is very deserving of the ultimate recognition. The world standings are filled with competitors who owe a large portion of their success to him.”
I couldn’t agree more, which is why I am grateful to Dr. Tanner for lending his wisdom and experience in an interview I’m excited to share below that offers valuable horse health insights (and more) for equestrians in any discipline who want to deliver the very best care possible to their equine athletes. Read more
In barrel racing, we’re not judged on how well we can “sit pretty.”
But it’s critical that we don’t adopt a clock as clock can attitude, either.
This is because HOW we get across the timer line matters. It matters most, to our horses.
After growing up dabbling in 4-H, I learned that a “good rider” was one who kept their toes in, heels down, seat glued to the saddle, and had straight shoulder/hip/heel alignment.
However, learning to hold a particular posture in the saddle so we LOOK like a good rider is no substitute for actually becoming one.
In fact, if we don’t intentionally learn to “go with the flow” and ride with fluidity (even at speed), no amount of equitation lessons will help us if we don’t also have THE FEEL.
The LOOK alone will never be enough in a sport that requires so much quickness, balance, timing and athleticism from horse and human alike.
Outside of appearances, a lot of us aren’t guiding our horses as effectively as we could – not necessarily because we haven’t yet followed through with that fitness program, or because we’re not athletic enough (although these are contributing factors), but because we’re just ever so slightly out of position.
While some of the changes we’re after in our horses and ourselves will require time and commitment, today I wanted to lighten the load a bit and share a LONG list of “quick tips” that have the power to turn a less than stellar run into a winning one, in a literal instant. Read more
One of the first memories I have relating to finances was thinking I would never be able to go to college because “we didn’t have the money.”
But that was a lie. Well, part of it…
It’s true that my family didn’t seem to have enough funds to meet even our most basic needs at times when I was growing up. It was the way of thinking I inherited as a youngster (and later changed) that was drastically inaccurate.
I DID go to college and get a degree in Veterinary Technology, albeit on my own dime. Whether I continued to assume that my life was doomed – OR that I could or couldn’t influence my future, was up to me.
Today there are a lot of adults still not living their barrel racing dreams because they have no hope – believing that being a professional barrel racer is only for people with “a lot of money.” Today, let’s blow that false belief outta the water too, shall we?
I won’t argue that making a run for the NFR for example, does indeed require hefty financial backing (see below for actual examples). But if barrel racing professionally is your goal, it’s time to get real and get busy creating the strong financial foundation to support it. Read more
When it comes to improving the health and performance of an equine athlete, considering whether we should implement a detox program is more a matter of HOW and WHEN vs. IF.
Today more than ever, performance horses especially are assaulted with a barrage of toxins from their environment, feed and medications, and it’s no coincidence that Veterinarians are seeing an increase in many disease conditions. Allergies, arthritis, metabolic disorders and even cancer are becoming more common and occurring earlier in age than in years past.
Back in the day, horse care and feeding programs were pretty simple. Old timers might even say that “ol’ Sorrely didn’t need all that stuff.” There could actually be some wisdom and truth in that statement! While the competition today is also tougher than ever – what performance horses didn’t need back then, and don’t need now are toxins that come along with the many tempting well-marketed options for supporting them. As we’ve evolved and our choices have grown, symptoms of the “body burden” our equine partners experience has risen as well.
When a horse’s system is already overwhelmed with toxins, it’s especially important that we know how to read the signs and take appropriate action to avoid a game of “chasing symptoms” which often includes adding even more toxic substances, further exacerbating the problem. Read more