Three Steps (and Exercises) to Become a Better Barrel Racing Jockey

If you jumped on a horse bareback in a round pen with no saddle or bridle, how confident would you feel in your ability to “go with the flow” and remain seated on that horse’s back as he loped around – as he was free to move when and however he wanted?

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and DO this, but just consider what it’d feel like.

You might think – “Well if I just had a bridle rein, or even a lead rope connected to the halter on one side… OR a saddle horn to hang onto, or stirrups to balance in…” OR maybe you’d feel confident as long as you were on an easy going, familiar or trust-worthy horse that responded well to body language?

Truth be told, most of us never learned to be great passengers before we aspired to become great barrel racers. When a horse zigs quickly, we have the tendency to zag. And if our ability to go with the flow is compromised (even a little bit), that means our passenger skills are lacking which ultimately means that our ability to jockey a barrel horse at top speed will be too.

Today’s article was created to help you take your riding skills from good to excellent! Read more

Five Cold, Hard (not-so-obvious) TRUTHS Why You’re Not Winning

Five Cold, Hard (not-so-obvious) TRUTHS Why You're Not Winning

Andrea Otley knows exactly what type of challenges we all face on the road to better barrel racing.

In today’s post she’ll be sharing some lesser-known insights into understanding why the clock might not be stopping as you’d hope, as well as some action steps proven to change that, AND how to make this your year to reach new heights (and speeds) on the barrel pattern.


You’ve got the horse.

You’ve got the tack – the saddle, the pad, the bit, the training equipment.

The teeth are floated. The chiropractic work is done. The feeding program is top notch – only the best for your horse.

He’s well trained. He knows and loves his job.

He’s in the best shape of his life.

You’ve taken the lessons, read the articles, watched the DVDs and corrected any problems.

You’ve learned so much and practiced hard. You’re devoted, dedicated and determined. You want this so bad!

You fall asleep each night thinking of your approach to the first barrel, how awesome it feels as your horse runs home. You get butterflies just thinking about it.

You enter each barrel race with the same positive expectation you enter the alley with, but then your heart drops again as you hear your time.

WHY aren’t you WINNING?? Read more

Four Steps to Strengthen Your Barrel Racing Foundation with Flying Lead Changes

Four Steps to Strengthen Your Barrel Racing Foundation with Flying Lead Changes!

In today’s video, I’ve challenged AND shown you how to think, and RIDE outside the barrel racing box in order to achieve more success IN the barrel racing box – and on the pattern, specifically.

“If you want something in your life you’ve never had, you’ll have to do something, you’ve never done.” – J.D. Houston

If there’s one thing I’ve realized by embracing new challenges, it’s that there are SO MANY eye-opening, humbling and growth inducing lessons to learn by doing so.

It’s not uncommon to get complacent with where we’re at and the skills we and our horses have. We tend to stay within our individual comfort zones and inadvertently think that “knowing about” something is equivalent to doing it.

BUT it’s not. Read more

Six Steps to Seek and Secure Sponsorship for Barrel Racing

Whether you’re ready to obtain sponsorship to help support your barrel racing habit ASAP, OR if you just want to learn more about the process for future reference, there’s an important First Step that applies either way.

That is to take a look at your outlook surrounding the IDEA of pursuing sponsorship.

You’re likely to fall somewhere in the middle of two camps.

Either you…

A. Think sponsorship is only for pros, and would never dream of seeking sponsors until you’re winning at a professional level. You’re a realist, you’re independent, you work hard, you’re not looking for handouts. You don’t mind earning your way to the top, even if it means doing it alone. You’re confident and want to advance your barrel racing career, but deep down you might be a little hesitant to take the leap.


B. Don’t have a lot of experience with barrel racing, but you have a lot of enthusiasm! And although you don’t have a history of high placings, wins or countless hours in the saddle, and can’t offer anything yet in return for sponsorship, you feel as though you deserve sponsorship because of what you know you can win in the future – with the right kind of support.

Which one of these examples do you tend toward? Read more

Budgeting for Barrel Racers – Plan Now, Celebrate Later!

Budgeting for Barrel Racers - Plan Now, Celebrate Later!

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #133 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.

For some, money is an taboo topic you just don’t talk about.

But barrel racers know it can make or break you.

What’s not shared, can’t help others. Silence keeps us stuck.

So for the greater good, let’s just dive in and put it all on the table, shall we?

My husband once had a roping partner who would hock one of his saddles at a pawn shop on the way to the rodeo so he could afford to enter, then buy it back on the way home with his winnings. As funny as this is looking back, I don’t recommend it!

Much like the first steps for creating sanity-saving and goal-reaching SYSTEMS to make the most of our time, we also need to start in this area with a reality check.

After all, it’s hard to manage time OR money well, when you don’t have any.

I’m not going to delay before coming right out and sharing that the most important piece of advice I could offer someone for funding their barrel racing dreams (or just adequately preparing for the next season), is this: No matter how enthusiastic, obsessed or legitimately talented or skilled you OR your horses are DO NOT SPEND MONEY YOU DO NOT HAVE.

Now I totally support the notion of “dreaming the impossible dream,” and making it come true, but let’s NOT be tempted to put the cart before the horse.

Barrel racing is a gamble, the competition is tough and the odds aren’t usually in our favor. Even at the very top of our game, we’ll lose more than we win.

If you LOVE running barrels, and if you’re serious about running barrels and competing at a high level, then there’s some leg work to do. Read more

More Than Just Dreams – SYSTEMS for Achieving Your Barrel Racing Goals

More Than Just Dreams – SYSTEMS for Achieving Your Barrel Racing Goals

I came across this quote the other day from Jim Rohn…

“I find it fascinating that most people plan their vacations with better care than they plan their lives. Perhaps that is because escape is easier than change.”

It IS easy, isn’t?

To just keep doing what we’re doing, all without getting 100% clear on where we’re going, what we need to DO and who we need to BE to get there.

Change is hard. But what’s harder in the long run is not growing, not progressing and rising to meet your potential, and that of your horse’s.

Which is why we all must get in the habit of being very intentional and purposeful when it comes to being who we were put on this Earth to be.

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anais Nin

With the help of structural support systems, we can stay focused and avoid the painful roller coaster of frustration or regret.

Instead, I encourage you to use the tips and ideas I’ve shared in the video below as guidance and inspiration to create your own “systems” for getting and STAYING on the fast track to BIG TIME barrel racing success! Read more

How to Bust Through Barriers: The REAL Reasons Barrel Racers Stay Stuck

Busting Through Barriers: The REAL Reasons Barrel Racers Stay Stuck

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #132 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.

I’m on a mission to seek and destroy!

Specifically the roadblocks that are holding YOU back from achieving the barrel racing success you so deeply desire.

Now let me begin by assuring you that I’m ALL for focusing on the positive, accentuating what’s going well, and for polishing up you and your horse’s pre-existing talents and skills.

But I’m also a realist.

“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.” – William Arthur Ward

I don’t want you keep riding around the arena without a realistic understanding of WHY you’re not clocking, and specifically what you need to DO to change that.

I want to be brutally honest with you.
Read more

Five Powerful Tips for Turning a Setback into a Comeback!

Five Powerful Tips to Turn a Setback into a Comeback!

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #123 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.

A few weeks ago I scheduled a Vet. check for my gelding in preparation to hit the road this summer and get his travel paperwork updated.

Because it was my first time going to a new clinic, I quickly mapped out the best (quickest) route for the 1 1/2 hour trip.

I left that morning with plenty of time to spare, but it turns out that the fastest path between two points is NOT always a straight line.

No, sometimes the fastest path is a major highway – something I’d wished I’d stuck to that day when I came upon a downed bridge on a narrow road with a 32 foot trailer.

After getting out of the truck, and venturing down to the river bottom only to discover that the bridge workers didn’t speak a word of English, I got back behind the wheel with no other choice but to back up over a mile until I came to an approach wide enough and a field dry and flat enough to get turned around.

Once I was moving forward however, something felt dramatically wrong. Either I had a flat tire or my truck (trick) driving and off-roading had caused some damage.

I turned off in (what I thought was) a convenient pull-over area next to repair shop – only to realize it was indeed NOT a repair shop AND the exit path out of the small pull-over area was gaited shut. Read more