Tag Archive for: Bareback for balance

Bareback Balance for Barrel Racers

Bareback Balance for Barrel Racers
Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #293 and #297 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.


We’ve all heard the age old advice – to become a better rider, ride bareback!

However, you may write off that advice thinking that riding bareback is for kids or that you’re a perfectly capable rider – or are you?

Part of reaching your potential as a barrel racer means being committed to never ending self-improvement. To truly grow in our horsemanship we must be willing to look (deep) within – FIRST.

So what constitutes a good rider in barrel racing anyway? We might figure that if we can get through the pattern without falling off that we’re good enough, or that if we can lope circles, trot along the rail or even sprint full speed without major day-lighting in the saddle that we are accomplished riders.

When someone at the barrel race says “She can really ride!” they may mean that person seems to have an ample dose of balance, timing, fluidity & feel that is necessary to be ONE with a horse during a run. Any cues are made smoothly, which creates response rather than reaction from the horse. They are fluid in their body, appearing to move ‘with’ vs. ‘on’ their horse and rarely over exaggerate movements resulting in costly time on the clock.

A not so advanced rider might cue their horse too soon or too late (out of time), they might tense up and brace in the stirrups (lack of fluidity), lean one way or another (out of balance) or roughly jerk or pull their horse through a turn (lack of feel), trying to make up for the mistakes created by the previously mentioned missing ingredients – timing, fluidity and balance!

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