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You may already be well aware of how important the start of any barrel racing run is.
When I interviewed World Champion barrel racer, Mary Walker she explained that the reason for her tipped second barrel in the fourth round of the 2012 National Finals Rodeo was a positioning issue – in the alley.
You read right. She felt as though Latte tipped the SECOND barrel, because of a positioning problem in the alley.
But what if your success in a run, or a ride, started EVEN before that. What IF it started before you even laid eyes on your horse?
In the height of the competitive barrel racing season especially, I know that if I’m not very intentional and specific about planning my rides in advance, I’m less likely to stay on track.
Sometimes, when the busyness of life gets the best of us, planning might take place after we’re already on the way to the barn, but rarely do I throw a leg over my horse without first giving thought to my intentions for each ride and what I am aiming to achieve in the long run.
At the same time, if we become too strict with our plans, we risk getting out of touch with how our horses feel and what they need in the moment.
This is so critically important, because let’s face it – than can change from one day or one minute to the next! We may find that we need to focus on something entirely different than what we planned on. In these cases, it’s best to be flexible and allow our horses to guide us.
Once you’ve made some notes (even mental notes) of your intentions for your ride, your second opportunity to set yourself up for success comes when you set foot toward your horse to halter him. Notice I said “halter,” and not “catch” (there is a BIG difference)! Think of it this way – you want to “catch” your horse’s ATTENTION, then halter your horse.