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101 Quick Tips to Improve Your Riding on the Barrel Pattern

Quick-Fix Tricks to Improve Your Riding on the Barrel Pattern

In barrel racing, we’re not judged on how well we can “sit pretty.”

But it’s critical that we don’t adopt a clock as clock can attitude, either.

This is because HOW we get across the timer line matters. It matters most, to our horses.

After growing up dabbling in 4-H, I learned that a “good rider” was one who kept their toes in, heels down, seat glued to the saddle, and had straight shoulder/hip/heel alignment.

However, learning to hold a particular posture in the saddle so we LOOK like a good rider is no substitute for actually becoming one.

In fact, if we don’t intentionally learn to “go with the flow” and ride with fluidity (even at speed), no amount of equitation lessons will help us if we don’t also have THE FEEL.

The LOOK alone will never be enough in a sport that requires so much quickness, balance, timing and athleticism from horse and human alike.

Outside of appearances, a lot of us aren’t guiding our horses as effectively as we could – not necessarily because we haven’t yet followed through with that fitness program, or because we’re not athletic enough (although these are contributing factors), but because we’re just ever so slightly out of position.

While some of the changes we’re after in our horses and ourselves will require time and commitment, today I wanted to lighten the load a bit and share a LONG list of “quick tips” that have the power to turn a less than stellar run into a winning one, in a literal instant. Read more

Three Steps (and Exercises) to Become a Better Barrel Racing Jockey

If you jumped on a horse bareback in a round pen with no saddle or bridle, how confident would you feel in your ability to “go with the flow” and remain seated on that horse’s back as he loped around – as he was free to move when and however he wanted?

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and DO this, but just consider what it’d feel like.

You might think – “Well if I just had a bridle rein, or even a lead rope connected to the halter on one side… OR a saddle horn to hang onto, or stirrups to balance in…” OR maybe you’d feel confident as long as you were on an easy going, familiar or trust-worthy horse that responded well to body language?

Truth be told, most of us never learned to be great passengers before we aspired to become great barrel racers. When a horse zigs quickly, we have the tendency to zag. And if our ability to go with the flow is compromised (even a little bit), that means our passenger skills are lacking which ultimately means that our ability to jockey a barrel horse at top speed will be too.

Today’s article was created to help you take your riding skills from good to excellent! Read more