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Nine Tips for Quality Circles & Fast Turns – Part II

Nine Tips for Quality Circles & Fast Turns - Part II

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #49 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or Google Play.


Have you ever heard of “recycled information?” It’s just as good as new!

Who would have guessed something so simple could be so complicated (and important)? Or that it would take years of hearing the same information and already knowing how important the “perfect circle” was, before it would REALLY sink in?

It wasn’t until I heard the importance of the perfect circle stressed over and over and over by about a half dozen NFR barrel racers that I REALLY understood just how important they were – AND that my circles weren’t so perfect after all.

We can perform barrel racing drills and barrel racing exercises until the cows come home, but if there are problems in the WAY we’re executing them (poor quality circles for example), then we aren’t positioning ourselves to receive near as much benefit (or results).

Unless you’re willing to open your mind and consider that even if you’ve been riding and racing your whole life – that your circles could still stand some improvement, well then you’re quite possibly limiting your barrel racing success.

BarrelRacingTips.com exists to remove roadblocks standing in your way, which is why we explored the first four of nine steps to create quality circles and quick turns in the first post in this two part series.

In case you missed it, click here to check out Stop the Clock Sooner with Nine Tips for Quality Circles & Quick Turns – Part I.

There, I shared tips for spot checking and refining these four aspects of the perfect circle:

1. Connection
2. Freedom
3. Education
4. Footfall

This week, we’ll explore the remaining five to make sure that THE most important foundational element of a barrel racing run is not just “good enough,” but EXCELLENT, which will ultimately lead to turns that are more fluid, correct and FAST!
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Stop the Clock Sooner with Nine Tips for Quality Circles & Quick Turns – Part I

Stop the Clock Sooner with Nine Tips for Quality Circles & Quick Turns – Part I

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #48 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or Google Play.


In this month’s barrel racing article we’re going to start going DEEP, really deep into what makes a perfect circle – which is the most foundational and important element of an efficient run.

We’ll actually start with WHY it’s so critical that we focus on circles, as well as include action steps for how you can spot check and improve them, which will ultimately lead to faster turns. Basically, we’ll cover the “how, what, where and why” of perfect circles (not necessarily in that order).

Quality circles equal fast turns!
Quality circles equal fast turns!

Instead of making you dizzy, we’re going to focus on quality instead of quantity. After all, if you’re not sure your circles are correct, you just may end up getting really good at performing them incorrectly. When it comes to barrel horse training, that’s definitely NOT what we want!

In the process, you may find that circles are even more complicated than you thought. However, with the insight gained you’ll be armed with new awareness and skills that you can apply ASAP to strengthen this foundational ingredient of any successful barrel racing run.

To start it’s important to be reminded that any high level athletic maneuver is built upon a foundation of excellent basics. I don’t mean basic, basics – I mean EXCELLENT basics. I’d venture to say that the majority of barrel racers dramatically overlook and under-appreciate the importance of achieving excellence starting with the most elementary skills and maneuvers.

I can’t stress enough that I don’t mean “good basics,” but “excellent basics!”

If you’re not winning every barrel race, or if you’re not just thrilled with every performance you make (or even if you are), then there is probably room for growth somewhere. Read more

Ride Your Barrel Horse Better with the Power Seat

Ride Your Barrel Horse Better with the Power Seat

by Certified Centered Riding Instructor, Cathy Mahon

I don’t know if you’re old enough to remember the days when in order to get all of the items on your grocery list, you had to go to at least three, if not four different stores. There was the butcher shop, where you bought your meat, a bakery for your bread and donuts, a produce stand where you would buy your fruits and vegetables and if you needed anything for your medicine cabinet, you had to go to the “drugstore.” It was time consuming, inconvenient and frustrating if you’d forget something and have to make another trip across town.

Well, now there’s a simple solution for shopping – the superstore or supermarket! And just as remarkable, is a simple straightforward way to find your POWER SEAT when you ride. By engaging the supportive, powerful CORE muscles (no, I mean the REAL core muscles) of the psoas and iliopsoas, located deep inside the body, you’ll be able to sit deep in the saddle, wrap your legs snugly around your horse’s barrel and keep your feet exactly where they need to be: grounded with equal weight in the stirrups.

You will breathe softly and maintain your balance, and your joints will flex and absorb the motion of your horse. You’ll notice your horse immediately rate underneath you when you deepen your contact with a simple exhale allowing your weight to drop back and down. You can move through the barrel pattern with simple upper body rotation, avoiding the tendency to lean into the turns. You’ll be stable no matter what you do.

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A Barrel Racer’s Guide to Understanding and Creating Impulsion

A Barrel Racer's Guide to Understanding and Creating Impulsion

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #4 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.


IMPULSION.

Next to collection, it could very possibly be one of the most misunderstood and often missing, but critical pieces to any performance endeavor with horses.

I went in-depth to cover the subject of collection in another post (see link below), but make no mistake, these two go hand in hand. Although they are equally important when it comes to developing a winning barrel horse, impulsion is at the top of the priority list.

One definition I came across states that impulsion is the “the powerful thrust from the hindquarters that propels the horse forward. Impulsion is the surge that occurs when the horse’s hindquarters push off the ground.”

Another describes impulsion as the “pushing power (thrust) of a horse, which comes from his desire to move powerfully forward with energy.”

However, there is one similarity and one difference in the above definitions that I would like to call attention to.

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