Tag Archive for: barrel racing problem solving

Solve (and Prevent) Barrel Racing Problems at the Source for Lasting Solutions & Success

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #94 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
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Recently, on my final exhausting walk from the barn to the house, the annoying sight of the crabgrass in the lawn I have tried (unsuccessfully) to get control of over the past few months was finally too much for me to take!

I stopped dead in my tracks, leaned over and started ripping it out by the root with my bare hands.

To my pleasant surprise, when I addressed this stubborn “broad leaf weed” at ground level, I realized that the big fluffy bunches of overgrown grass looked much worse on the surface. The roots were in fact, small in size and small in number, in comparison to the bushy tops.

Pulling a few plants out by the root cleared huge areas of the lawn, leaving a much more uniform, beautiful appearance. Because I enthusiastically attacked the problem at its source, I know it will require much less work to keep it that way.

It all reminded me of what it’s like to troubleshoot problems with barrel horses. If we just put everything on the back burner and with great intensity and enthusiasm go straight to the source, we might find that the problem wasn’t so bad after all. Read more

Turn First Barrel Stress into SUCCESS with a Customized Problem Solving Plan!

Have you ever experienced RSPA?

It’s a very common condition among barrel racers, known as “Rate/Shape Point Anxiety.” It happens most commonly before the first barrel turn, but is known to take place before the second and third barrel as well.

Symptoms include confusion, stress, nervousness, stutter stepping, second guessing, hesitation, and even fear, worry, as well as extreme hand and leg movements.

Going by the Barrel - A Symptom of
Going by the Barrel – A Common Symptom of “Rate/Shape Point Anxiety”

It doesn’t have to happen to you, help is here…

In today’s new video post here on Barrel Racing Tips.com, I’ve outlined a simple system for problem solving, troubleshooting and tuning that brings clarity to a very grey, anxiety filled area (OR any area on the pattern, actually).

You may even relate to and receive insight from the example problem described and shown in the video below.

Although I expect the steps I’ve explained to relieve your symptoms of RSPA, keep in mind that completely recovering from it is a process that takes time, experience, and…. LESSONS (in my book, a “mistake” is a LESSON, IF you learn something from it). Read more

When Things Go South with NFR Barrel Racer, Molly Powell

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Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #17 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes, subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher or Google Play.


In 1995, Molly Powell decided to leave behind the cold weather, hard ground and few & far between barrel races in her home state of Montana and head south to Texas. She immersed herself, not only in studies at Vernon College but also in an environment that would be more conducive to her career as a professional barrel racer. As a 10-time NFR qualifier, you could say that the transition proved to be a good one.

10x NFR Barrel Racer, Molly Powell
10X NFR Barrel Racer, Molly Powell

Sometimes, however, things “go south” with our barrel horses and when they do, it’s NOT a good thing. When this happens, we distance ourselves from achieving barrel racing success at any level. Many barrel racers sense when something doesn’t feel quite right. Perhaps their horse is out of position, they may feel stiff, or lean to the inside. A horse might be extremely hot or nervous, or unresponsive to what the rider is asking. Riders may recognize these road blocks, an even have a clear idea of what they do want, but the challenge often comes in knowing exactly how to get it.

As humans, most of us are direct-line thinkers. We are wired to just keep trying until we reach our desired result. Barrel racers especially, are a determined crowd – we’re taught to practice perfect, to persist and persevere, to never give up! This way of operating creates a potential problem, however, when it comes to training barrel horses. If things are “going south,” and if we keeping doing more of the same, our horses – who are very sensitive to patterns and learn easily through repetition, become much more likely to repeat those undesirable ways of being.

At a recent clinic in Lander, Wyoming, Molly demonstrated that when we find ourselves in one of these ruts, we must find a way out – and quick! It doesn’t always matter if you don’t know exactly what to do, or where to go, as long as you do something – anything different, to break the cycle. You could refer to this policy as “rut prevention.”

During the clinic, one mare was too nervous and anxious to use her body properly and focus on the task at hand, which was performing Molly’s smaller circle exercise at a forward, even, but relaxed pace. Read more