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If you receive the BarrelRacingTips.com weekly email tips, then you may already know a little bit about the “rope horse rehab” journey I’ve been on with my husband’s gelding.
In a recent Q&A video titled Six Secrets for Relaxed, Quality Movement, I went in depth to explain the steps I was taking with Dot Com to get him calm, connected and responsive, instead of being a tense, high-headed, runaway waiting to happen.
As someone who is committed to never-ending self-development, I’ve been continuously refining my techniques, learning lessons and as a result – experiencing even more positive changes. In this article, I’d like to share three more exercises for “Relaxation on the Move,” including tips that will make it likely that you and your horses will benefit (and not make some of the mistakes I did).
First off, I’ll say that in the barrel racing world, it seems somewhat acceptable for horses to be “on the muscle,” and not just in that moment when they are mentally and physically gathering to fire to the first barrel, but in general. I think this way of being becomes acceptable because it’s so common, yet a lack of understanding exists when it comes to accepting this as a “typical behavior trait” of barrel horses.
Like I mentioned in the past Q&A, many horses that barrel racers think are “excited” are actually insecure, tense, anxious, fearful, etc. It’s NOT a fun way to feel, and that kind of consistent mental/emotional roller coaster can take a lot out of a horse (or human).
At the same time, it’s important to remember that a quiet horse is not necessarily a happy horse. Fortunately there is plenty we can do (or not do) to help our horses find some middle ground.