Posts

FAST Times on Purpose – Three Exercises for Testing (and Teaching) Precision to Increase Speed

FAST Times on Purpose - Three Exercises for Testing (and Teaching) Precision to Increase Speed

The other day I watched a handful of runs from the video archives on my gelding, Pistol. Certain aspects of them got me really excited and other aspects were a little hard to watch because I feel like I have new “eyes to see” certain issues.

Let’s just say there were a couple Homer Simpson hand to the forehead “DOH” moments!

The same issues that were happening on the pattern in those videos are completely related to how Pistol “tests out” at home (more on that below).

As I wrap up my goals with Dot Com this month and shift more focus to preparing Pistol for competition after a long rehab from an injury and 2+ years away from competing, you can bet that I’m focusing on strengthening our weak areas as they relate to the barrel pattern so we’re more than READY when the time comes! Read more

Horsemanship Before Sportsmanship – Eight Priorities that Pay Off

Horsemanship Before Sportsmanship - Eight Priorities that Pay Off

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #162 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes or your favorite podcast app.


In a recent post we had fun highlighting the “Four Barrel Racing Personality Types.”

To roll out today’s new article, I’d like to break that down into an even more basic TWO types.

Even though my husband isn’t a barrel racer, his personality serves as a good example of Type B, while I’m Type A. When I appreciate our differences, I can’t help but think of the classic quote by Zig Ziglar – “You cannot make it as a wandering generality. You must become a meaningful specific.”

Craig’s a laid back, roll with the punches kind of guy. While he’s appreciating each moment, I can be found spinning in Tazmanian Devil-like swirls of mental activity and physical productivity. You can imagine why he’s actually a great match for his sensitive gelding, Dot Com (and ME). Craig operates with steady eddy-style energy that provides a lot of peace and reassurance for him.

It’s great when everyone’s feeling relaxed and content, but the warm fuzzies tend to fade when we’re not progressive. That’s where my specialty comes in, which is crushing goals, blasting through obstacles and chasing dreams – full-steam ahead! My succeed or else style can be pretty intense, no doubt. In fact over the years I’ve had to learn to tone it down. And as you might expect, Craig has learned to liven up!

I have a tendency to latch on to ideas like a dog on a bone, where Craig is slow to put a stake in any one belief. When it comes to caring for our horses and doing everything we can to bring out their best and achieve our barrel racing goals with them, I don’t think we can afford to sway too far either direction.

It doesn’t matter what “style” WE are – we’ve GOT to do our homework to find our own “north star.” But having balance and perspective means we must be willing to let it burn out and focus on another guiding light instead, when appropriate.

Below I’ve shared what I consider to be a set of eight powerful principles to guide you through life, horse training, competing and more. Read more

Form, Function & Communication with Barrel Horse Bitting Expert, Dave Elliott

Form, Function & Communication with Barrel Horse Bitting Expert, Dave Elliott

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #97 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn or Spotify.


This month at BarrelRacingTips.com we’ll be diving into the subject “horsemanship for barrel racing.” Because quality horsemanship requires quality communication – quality horsemanship depends on quality tools! One of the most important being the bits we use to develop our barrel horses.

It was easy for me to decide who I’d invite as a guest contributor on this topic. Dave Elliott, owner of Elliott Bit and Spur hails from Alberta, Canada and is a household name in the barrel racing industry. Although Dave himself rodeoed in the past, because his wife Louise is a barrel racer, it’s the discipline they’ve primarily focused on serving.

Dave started out using horses on the ranch where he grew up, while his mother and sister rode english. Out of school he became involved in horseshoeing and did that professionally for 20 years. When business was slow in the winter time his interest turned to bit making, which he’s been doing on a full-time basis now for 25 years.

Elliott Bit and Spur
Look for the “Elliott” stamp of authenticity
on a bits inside, bottom right shank.

One of the things that clearly sets Elliott bits apart is the years of education and study behind them. Dave said “My search for bitting information led me to studying anatomy. I’ve hosted equine dissection classes and got involved with an equine Osteopath to learn more about motion, neurological systems and cardiovascular systems.”

He went on to explain that “Most of the information on bitting is based on the bit, not the reason why we use certain bits, which is largely anatomical based. When you read old European military manuals you’ll find that most of their bitting and riding was based on anatomical structures.”

I especially appreciated Dave mentioning how important it is to have a clear goal in mind when it comes to exactly what you hope to accomplish. “You have to have a plan as to how you want the horse to move before you select a bit to get it done. I find now days in all disciplines, that people often don’t have a plan.”

He shared that when people call to express certain needs or ideas in regards to which bit to order, “It usually ends up being more of an anatomical answer instead of a bit answer. For example ‘My horse won’t rate for the first barrel.’ I have to understand what their idea of what rate is, whether they’re looking for a short term fix or a long term fix, and if they understand what needs to happen in the horse’s body in order to rate.” Read more

Unshakable Confidence – How to Build DEEP Inner Strength to Achieve HIGH Barrel Racing Goals

Unshakable Confidence – How to Build DEEP Inner Strength to Achieve HIGH Barrel Racing Goals

This month we’ve already gone deep to offer no-nonsense tips and techniques for upping your mental game. But how DEEP are you willing to go?

Our personal comfort with depth is an important topic, because it determines the height of our success. The higher level goals we have for our horses, the deeper their foundation must be, and it’s NO different for us.

Here at BarrelRacingTips.com, I primarily focus on areas related to developing and refining our horse’s education. But there’s A LOT more to jockeying a barrel horse successfully than just riding well, or even being a great trainer. Read more

Three No-Brainer Components for Successful and Consistent Barrel Racing Under Pressure

Three No-Brainer Components for Successful and Consistent Barrel Racing Under Pressure

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #147 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.


I always say – there’s a lot more to barrel racing, than barrel racing!

For this reason I feel as though the off season, OR any time we’re sidetracked from active competition (for example, when a horse gets injured – my situation not log ago) provides a good opportunity to dive into other areas of personal development that will accelerate our barrel racing success once we’re back in the saddle.

The thing is, when we haven’t been competing for a while it’s easy to beebop along in our own little comfort zone, completely oblivious about how to pressure of competition effects us.  When we’re not out testing ourselves regularly, we get a little rusty and forgetful!

I had a HUGE wake-up call after we first moved from Wyoming and I’d been living in my own little secluded south-Texas world, then hauled our horses to a HUGE barrel race not far from home.  Read more

Go With the Flow – Microcurrent Therapy for Powerful Equine Healing, Comfort, Relief and Recovery

Go With the Flow - Microcurrent Therapy for Powerful Equine Healing, Comfort, Relief and Recovery

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #146 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.


In 2012, something I’d always dreaded – that my best and most treasured equine partner would suffer a serious injury, become reality.

After multiple Vet. visits, an MRI, and many long months, we eventually made it to the side of the recovery roller coaster – in large part because I refused to accept that we wouldn’t make it, but let me tell you it was very touch and go for a while!

After a fair share of worry and doubt, one month from the moment I suddenly had a feeling that “the odds” weren’t going to apply to us (even when things weren’t necessarily looking good) – my barrel horse was SOUND and well on his way to making a comeback.

These days, now that I’m armed not only with an even more firm belief in the power of prayer and positive expetation, but also with valuable scientific insights and modern technology, I’ve chosen microcurrent as the therapy of choice to make sure he (and our other horses) stay that way.

With so many options out there, after much research and now impressive results in a very short period of time I’m especially enthusiastic about microcurrent as being one of the most effective options for supporting my barrel horse’s success in the arena and well-being in general. Read more

Conditioning for Quickness – Build Strength and Understanding to Unleash Your Barrel Horse’s Potential

Conditioning for Quickness – Build Strength and Understanding to Unleash Your Barrel Horse's Potential

You may have figured out by now that barrel racing isn’t quite as simple as it looks.
Speed especially, will throw us (and our horses) for a loop if we’re not careful.

Ensuring they’re adequately prepared to perform their best on the pattern starts with understanding the elements of SPEED (which I went into great depth on here).

It’s our responsibility as trainers and jockeys to not only be aware of our individual horses strengths and weaknesses but to embrace and take responsibility for enhancing their innate talents, as well as strengthening the weaker links.

Because of Dot Com’s extreme sensitivity for example, sometimes the communication between my body, Dot Com’s brain, and his feet gets a little “kink” in it you could say – that’s one of his “weaknesses.”

This doesn’t have so much to do with his physical ability, but his mental development – which is something I’m responsible for strengthening.

You see, we have to be aware and advanced enough to realize that what WE might consider “sensitive,” could more accurately be described as REACTIVE, AND most importantly, could be turned into RESPONSIVE, IF we take the correct steps!

While building strength IS an important and necessary part in developing quickness, if the channels of communication are not open and flowing, even the most beefed up barrel horse is going to leave us high and dry. Our horses must be STRONG, but they must also be confident, mentally connected, thinking, and willing to respond in a tiny fraction of a second, together WITH us, both body AND mind. Read more

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

Listen to this article in audio form! It’s #144 on the Barrel Racing Tips podcast.
For the latest episodes subscribe on iTunes, Spotify, TuneIn, Stitcher or Google Play.


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