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