Just like humans, horses are born with naturally occurring tendencies, characteristics and personality traits.
Some tend to be more high strung, some tend to be laid back, some are more naturally confident, some are more fearful.
What many riders don’t realize though, is that there is a TON we can do to help our horses achieve balance. When we do this, we’re likely to experience the benefits both in the barrel racing arena and in our horse’s over all physical and mental well-being.
Because I love horses so much, I feel a great personal responsibility to instill in them the education and emotional fitness necessary to successfully handle the challenges that come along with life as performance horses.
Most barrel racers will deal with some tension or an over abundance of “go” in a horse at one point or another. It’s often a byproduct of the speed that’s required in our sport. Speed releases adrenaline, it creates anticipation, and unlike other slower paced equine sports, speed adds even more pressure to the competition environment.
Some horses who are confident and have been carefully developed, may genuinely experience excitement in anticipation of running, but often, what WE would like to perceive as “excitement” is actually worry, impulsiveness, anxiety, tension and fear.
Whatever labels we assign to their behavior, it’s important that our horses remain connected and responsive to us, and that we do our best to keep their association with the barrels as positive as possible.
In a past article titled Peel Back the Layers and Get REAL, I wrote about being pro-active, about taking responsibility, about learning instead of blaming. An over abundance of tension and “go” does NOT have to be a negative byproduct of barrel racing that we just roll over and accept, but we DO have to learn exactly how this is possible.
If we don’t keep our horse’s ability to relax and move with quality in check, eventually all hope of barrel racing success will be lost. But this doesn’t have to happen, and this week’s Q&A shows you how – without drugs, without restricting our horse’s movement and without forcing or holding them into artificial positions and postures.
When we make good choices, we reveal our horse’s greatest athletic ability, and we add to our horse’s quality of life – and it doesn’t get better than that!
In the video below, Dot Com helped me answer Wendi’s question by sharing six effective but lesser known “secrets” for relaxation and quality movement.
If you’d like to learn more, my book Secrets to Barrel Racing Success devotes an entire chapter to overcoming the challenges speed presents, as well as a chapter describing what quality movement is, why it’s important, and how to create it.
Click here to get your hands and eyes on a copy + your FREE Speed Guide! 😉
If you think your saddle might be creating discomfort for your horse and causing him to use his body inefficiently, check out the links below:
- The Horse’s Pain-Free Back and Saddle-Fit Book
- How to Evaluate, Find and Enhance Saddle Fit for Faster Barrel Racing
Here at BarrelRacingTips.com we’re NOT into keeping secrets – so in the comments below share how these or any other techniques for relaxing and dissolving impulsiveness in horses with too much “go” have helped you?