What does this quote mean to you?
“Too many parents make life hard for their children by trying, too zealously, to make it easy for them.” – Goethe
I feel as though too many barrel racers (and riders in general) make life hard for their horses (and themselves) by unconsciously trying to make life easy for them, or by micromanaging (any control freaks out there?), or being too perfectionistic.
As with human children, if you do too much for your horse, it will make life harder later, for both you AND the horse. Most times, barrel racers don’t even realize they are micromanaging and doing FOR their horses, which they would really be better off doing for themselves.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m an advocate of correcting mistakes the instant they occur in barrel horses, especially on the pattern. If your horse gets out of position – DO NOT PASS GO – fix it then and there before you move on!
If you find you don’t have the foundational elements to fix the problem quickly and effectively, then forget about the pattern temporarily until you have the calm understanding and education you need to get your message through.
However, when I say be sure to correct mistakes the instant they happen – this DOES NOT mean PREVENTING your horse from making mistakes.
Mistakes are how horses and humans learn.
Whether it’s a young horse or human, we want to raise them to be educated and good decision makers, but if they slip up – there are consequences for those mistakes, which are great learning opportunities.