Barrel Racing Tips Articles & Videos
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
The barrel racing world has been abuzz lately on the important topic of ground conditions and what must be done to improve them, especially at the super bowl of rodeo and most prestigious event of the year – the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
As individual barrel racers with gold buckle dreams and valuable equine athletes that are both part of our livelihood and families, our hope for change comes in part through believing there is power in numbers, and that our voices and concerns are more likely to be heard when we join forces and take a stand together to #raisethebarforrodeo, as is being attempted through this petition.
It’s easy to get caught up in the emotions surrounding the issue – after all, there’s not just a lot of money at stake each night, but one single slip can be career ending for a beloved barrel horse, and the safety of the world’s top jockey’s is at stake as well. It’s no doubt serious business and an issue that can’t be taken lightly at any level.
In times like this, with social media at our fingertips it’s easy to hop on the finger-pointing and complaining bandwagon. When so many others are on board, it can be tempting to follow suit.
So while I do believe there is power in numbers, and am an advocate for safe ground conditions, I’m also a BIG believer that we must each take personal responsibility for our own safety and that of our horses, and that’s what I intend to help you do today. In any circumstance when we haven’t done everything in our own power through preparation, then a one-sided blame game isn’t quite a fair one to play.
Especially when a public message from WPRA headquarters enlightened us to the legitimate limitations in the influence and control barrel racers have over the ground conditions, situations like the WNFR especially require us to take matters into our own hands in addition to joining forces, and each do our part – which may include reaching out to local rodeo committees, but especially TEACHING and preparing ourselves and our horses, starting with the steps we take in our own home arenas – to increase the odds for safe and successful runs no matter what kind of challenging circumstances come our way.
In the pro members post below, I’ve shared TEN ways to do just that! Read more
Life on rodeo road isn’t for the faint of heart. The 15 ladies below toughed it out in 2015 and earned their spot under the bright lights of Las Vegas.
Read on as they reflect on the highs and lows (AND how they got through them), plus share insights on the transition from amateur to professional, entry strategies, and more!
#1 CALLIE DUPERIER
Did you have strategy for entering rodeos this season? I looked to the rodeos that added the most money and those that I thought would best fit my horses. Luckily, over the 4th of July I got to travel with Sherry Cervi. I just told her you enter and “I’ll go where you go.” She is experienced at knowing the best ones to get to.
Which rodeo resulted in your biggest accomplishment? Biggest accomplishment was Calgary. It was my first time there and I ended up second behind Lisa Lockhart and Louie. Lisa and Louie are so awesome so I felt happy doing so well there.
Which proved to be your biggest disappointment? Why? My biggest disappointment was at one of the Champions Challenges I hit the third barrel on Arson to win it.
Who did you travel with majority of the season? My dad and Whiplash, our driver who used to drive for Cody Ohl, so everyone knows him. And then Sherry during the 4th of July.
What do you think is the key to transitioning from amateur barrel racer to professional? Being able to stay on the road is a big transition. I am a homebody so being on the road was a big change for me. Also the rodeos are different when you get on the road competing with such tough competition at them all. Read more
Have you ever wondered “How do they DO it!?”
If the tasks involved in preparing to compete for record amounts of prize money (1.1 MILLION) in front of thousands of fans for TEN days straight seems overwhelming – it should!
In part II of this year’s NFR interview series, the top 15 have revealed not only how they feel about the exciting experience, but the steps they have taken to get ready and will take (for themselves and their horses) to stay ready and be at their best each and every night. Read more
The 2015 top 15 barrel racers have already arrived in Las Vegas, and in just days will be blasting down the alley of the Thomas & Mack arena. To make the most out of the exciting rodeo action, I’m happy to bring you an inside peek into the life and times of rodeo’s leading ladies. Read more
Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #98 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
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As I was getting warmed up to post this week’s video, I was glad to come across some timeless barrel racing wisdom from Ed Wright.
Recently I witnessed and was especially impressed by one of his students as she won the All American Finals in Waco, TX, and again it confirmed that while competition continues to get tougher as breeding programs, tools and techniques are always evolving – certain principles never change.
One such principle is that bits are secondary to education.
And yet, while education is a critical priority – just because we’ve instilled knowledge in our horse’s mind doesn’t necessarily mean there still aren’t blocks in the way physically and emotionally.
Even if we can influence and yield our horse’s body parts relatively quick and effectively doesn’t mean they feel good about it, that they want to do it, and that they aren’t dealing with physical restrictions that make it difficult for them.
This is why I also love learning about and sharing the importance of horse health, anatomy, therapeutic bodywork and biomechanics, as well as what we as trainers, riders and jockeys can do to actually build desire and try in our horses. Read more