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The “Lazy” Barrel Horse – How to Build a FIRE in Their Feet!

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Ask yourself this – what’s your default response like when faced with a challenge?

When it comes to problem solving (in any area of life), I’ve personally found changing my perspective to be highly effective.

Take my verrry laid back gelding, Pistol, for example…

On one hand, I appreciate his easy going tendencies. He’s confident, comfortable and content in nearly all situations, and I can haul all over the country without him becoming overly stressed, losing weight, etc. He handles the pressure of speed event competition like a champ.

Of course, I’d like to take a little credit for him being so solid, however I have to admit it has a lot to do with how he’s wired by nature.

Pistol as a youngster, relaxing with friends.
Pistol as a youngster, relaxing with friends.

It’s probably accurate to say that the majority of barrel racers don’t have a problem with “lazy” horses, but yet perhaps you’ve had moments when you’ve needed more electric energy and quickness from your horse.

There’s no doubt having a burst of energy available in the split second you need it most can dramatically affect your success!

It actually took me quite a while to effectively and authentically motivate Pistol.

You see, he’s not really “lazy.”

He was just unmotivated, in large part because I wasn’t very interesting.

How’s that for a change in perspective?
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Provide Motivation and Create Consistency in the Barrel Horse

Many barrel racers experience frustration when their horse has too much GO. However, it can be every bit as (if not more) frustrating when your horse doesn’t seem to have enough GO – especially in moments when it’s needed most.  This week’s Q&A specifically addresses two issues – motivation and consistency.  The video also shares some insight into helping horses on the other end of the spectrum, who have an overwhelming desire to constantly move their feet.  

Lazy Barrel Horse
Energy Conservationist Hard at Work

Trying to physically motivate a lazy horse, can be exhausting and annoying – if you’re not careful, you’ll be doing more work than they are.  If you find yourself having to put a lot of effort into keeping your horse’s energy up, then step back and consider this…

Which horse do you think will put more effort into performing – one that moves with energy because he genuinely wants to – or one that only does so to avoid what happens if he doesn’t? 

Contrary to what most people think, a lazy horse is not a lost cause in the barrel racing world.  In fact, what “lazy” really means, is unmotivated.  Creating desire in a sluggish horse means figuring out HOW to motivate him, preferably in ways that create true enthusiasm and not resentment.  If we’re smart, we’ll cause the horse to want to move with energy, before we even ask. 

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