How & Why “Buck, the Film” Relates to Barrel Racing

How & Why “Buck, the Film” Relates to Barrel Racing
The early years in Wyoming – fortunate to be influenced by Ray Hunt and Buck Brannaman.

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #16 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.


I’ve often said – “There’s a lot more to barrel racing, than barrel racing.” 

This understanding is a big part of why I chose to offer a copy of the award winning documentary movie, “Buck, the Film” to those who purchased the Secrets to Barrel Racing Success Pay it Forward Package during the book’s initial launch.

If you don’t get the “a lot more” part, your barrel racing will always be lacking.  That’s where Buck Brannaman comes in.  An early protégé of the legendary late horsemen, Ray Hunt and the Dorrance Brothers, Brannaman has dedicated his life to “helping horses with people problems.”

After having called Wyoming home for nearly 15 years, I’ve jumped at opportunities to be in the presence of these legendary horsemen and learn from them in person. I chose to offer the DVD as a free gift, because it brilliantly displays a message, actually many messages, that have been instrumental in my barrel racing success. In this article, I wanted to share more about how and why, these horsemen and this movie, have shaped my horsemanship and barrel racing path.

If you follow “Buck, the Film” on Facebook, you’ll see they regularly post images with quotes.  One of my recent favorites was this…

“My daughter’s all grown up now compared to what she was, but I used to say, I’ve got to have my horse to where if she’s leading my horse somewhere, and she’s got a big armload of Barbies and drops something out of her hand, that son of a buck ought to stop and respect her while she’s gathering up all her dolls and not to walk on her or take advantage of her. And if I’ve done my work right, by gosh, that’s what they’ll do.” – Buck Brannaman

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The Barrel Racer’s Guide to Speed

The Barrel Racer's Guide to Speed

I’ve created a very special 10-page guide on the subject of SPEED, and how to get every bit of it you possibly can from your horse in competition.

And now The Barrel Racer’s Guide to Speed Development is available as FREE gift with purchase of Secrets to Barrel Racing Success.Barrel Racer's Speed Guide

In fact, I devoted the entire Speed Changes Everything chapter in ‘The Secrets’ to the topic, and went in-depth to discuss some of the main contributing factors, those being:

– Natural Talent
– Weight
– Soundness
– Conditioning
– Foot Placement
– Foundation
– Rider

Also described are the specific challenges speed presents to barrel racers and their horses, AND how to overcome them.

I could go on and on about speed!  

In fact when I wrote this, I emailed the BarrelRacingTips.com community and shared EVEN MORE tips for helping to reveal speed in the barrel horse (if you don’t want to miss out on these additional winning tips, be sure to sign up below).

To give you a sneak peek into the Speed Guide, I’ve added an excerpt from the introduction below, as well as details describing what this rare guide reveals to barrel racers.

Enjoy the first page from The Barrel Racer’s Guide to Speed Development:

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Help Celebrate “Secrets to Barrel Racing Success!”

May 1st officially marks the first day of a month long celebration to honor the release of the print version of Secrets to Barrel Racing Success!

Here’s a little ditty to get us started…



A party just isn’t a party without gifts, and there will be plenty of them to go around! 🎁

So be sure you click here for FREE updates via email, then click here to give ‘Heather Smith’s Barrel Racing Tips’ a LIKE on Facebook so you don’t miss out on any of the freebies and festivities!

To kick off this celebration, first I’d like to express my sincere gratitude and appreciation to the BarrelRacingTips.com community.

To those of you who have written with questions, praise and support of the content offered here and of the positive results you’re experiencing through using and implementing the new perspectives, understanding, tools and action steps found in the pages of Secrets to Barrel Racing Success (which until now was ONLY available in e-book format) – THANK YOU so much for connecting.

I LOVE hearing from you! 🤗

Later in the week, I’ll be adding some descriptive details on one of the very special FREE gifts being offered with the purchase of ‘The Secrets,’ which is called The Barrel Racer’s Guide to Speed DevelopmentHow to Reveal the Freaky Fast Athlete in Your Horse.

(Click here if you simply can’t wait!)

Today though, I’d like to share what I feel would be THE BEST GIFT that I could ever receive from YOU (sounds selfish, perhaps, but hear me out)…

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Provide Motivation and Create Consistency in the Barrel Horse

Many barrel racers experience frustration when their horse has too much GO. However, it can be every bit as (if not more) frustrating when your horse doesn’t seem to have enough GO – especially in moments when it’s needed most.  This week’s Q&A specifically addresses two issues – motivation and consistency.  The video also shares some insight into helping horses on the other end of the spectrum, who have an overwhelming desire to constantly move their feet.  

Lazy Barrel Horse
Energy Conservationist Hard at Work

Trying to physically motivate a lazy horse, can be exhausting and annoying – if you’re not careful, you’ll be doing more work than they are.  If you find yourself having to put a lot of effort into keeping your horse’s energy up, then step back and consider this…

Which horse do you think will put more effort into performing – one that moves with energy because he genuinely wants to – or one that only does so to avoid what happens if he doesn’t? 

Contrary to what most people think, a lazy horse is not a lost cause in the barrel racing world.  In fact, what “lazy” really means, is unmotivated.  Creating desire in a sluggish horse means figuring out HOW to motivate him, preferably in ways that create true enthusiasm and not resentment.  If we’re smart, we’ll cause the horse to want to move with energy, before we even ask. 

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Barrel Racing Exercises (for Smooth, Fast Turns) are Useless, Unless…

Barrel Racing Exercises (for Smooth, Fast Turns) are Useless, Unless...

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).

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Two (Contradictory) Tips to be Straight and Fast Between Barrels

Photo by Schaffer's Photo Express

Listen to more on this topic in Episode #73 of the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or Google Play.


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

The Barrel Racing SECRETS are Out!

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)! 

Playing in the Creek.
Playing in the Creek.

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

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Work Ethic – How to Develop & Maintain It in Horses, Part II

Work Ethic – How to Develop & Maintain It in Horses

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #8 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.


Last month we started to discuss the importance of establishing and maintaining strong work ethic in our horses. We went into depth on five ways to make this possible –

1. Stay on Your Feet
2. Challenge Yourself
3. Mix Things Up
4. Don’t Skimp on the Compliments, and
5. Try a New Discipline

This month we’ll continue with five more ways to develop and maintain strong work ethics in our equine friends.

6. Keep Harsh Criticism to a Minimum – Horses don’t try to purposely hit barrels and like humans, they aren’t perfect. So you had a bad run? Does that make it acceptable to be excessively firm on your horse’s face or take him out for a “behind the barn” session? Would you never dream of responding in such a way when your horse doesn’t perform?

The reality is, that it happens and it seriously affects our horse’s work ethic. There’s no quicker way to destroy your horse’s “want to” and even burn them out completely than to respond to what you thought was a poor performance with rough treatment, abuse or repetitive and excessive hard work. In addition, when worked to the point of exhaustion, your horse is more likely to injure himself and much less likely to retain what you’re trying to get through.

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