Barrel Racing Tips Articles & Videos
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
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
Would you like to be a better barrel horse trainer?
Would you believe many of the same techniques used with horses are also used with dogs, and most other animals?
Of course a few differences and exceptions apply based on the species and individuals we’re working with, but barrel horse training doesn’t have to be the confusing, frustrating grey area we often make it out to be.
Even if you’ve been successful with the methods you apply, a firmer understanding of the techniques you’re using, and even what techniques you’re not – creates opportunity for more clarity and confidence as you develop your horses.
Being a serious student of the horse led me to studying, learning, memorizing, experimenting and experiencing what you could call “Horse Training 101.”
Truthfully, these basics don’t vary too much based on style, preference or what clinician you follow.
What I’ve shared below are the tried and true methods we all use, whether we know it or not – and they’re the exact same methods we can all apply a little differently for even better results!
It’s not so much what we do, but how and when. We’ll be better prepared for the how and when, when we better understand the what! Today I’ve shared all of the above.
If you’re overwhelmed, yet fascinated by terms like operant and classical conditioning, bridge stimulus, or would like to better understand the best ways to use positive and negative reinforcement (you’ll be surprised by this one) to create everything you want in your dream barrel horse – and none of the stuff you don’t want, then join me for this very special article. Read more
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 up and cooling down, but we all know how that goes!
The support I provide my horses today is much different. This is for a couple reasons. One is that I know better, and so I DO better. The second is that the middle-aged horses in our pasture right now each have physical issues that require some maintenance.
I’ve worked hard to get them to the state of wellness they enjoy today and so I put a lot of effort toward keeping them there under the stresses of travel and speed work. Had they benefitted from a program like the one I follow now when they were younger, they might not require the level of maintenance they do.
In other words, it’s better to go the extra mile with supporting our horse’s physical well-being by seeming to do even MORE than they require in the present, than risk being forced to in the future… OR have them forced into an early retirement.
In the video below I’ve shared the very in-depth and specific pre-ride and run routine I do on a daily basis to maximize performance AND help prevent soundness or health issues from slowing us down. Read more
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 deeper in a certain area without risk of neglecting others. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing why it’s so critical that we take our understanding of how our horse’s bodies work, and how we can best support them, to the next level.
Even if we would prefer to leave all the health and therapy mumbo jumbo to the professional equine bodyworkers or Vets., investing in our own education and skills is a great way to take what’s good and make it even better.
Below I’ve outlined a critical prerequisite, plus the areas that most deserve our time and attention (with links to resources), AND how to fit it all in amongst all the other demands of barrel racing! Read more