More Winning Ways by Lyndee Stairs

Barrel racing should really be easy to do and easy to win, right? It is simple enough.  Well, here is a quick overview.  You and your horse’s job is to quickly and correctly maneuver around a cloverleaf pattern in the shortest amount of time.  Sounds simple enough, right?  Well, no. Because in between the time you enter the arena and then leave at the completion of your run, there are many variables that can affect this otherwise simple looking event. I mean, there are just three barrels. However, as any of us who have ever tried this sport knows, your horse can run past the first barrel, shoulder the second one, knock the third one out of the arena, spook at the overhead banners, shy away from the shady spot in the center of the arena, buck, run off, and on and on and on. In order to do well at barrel racing, you must anticipate the unexpected and head it off. You and your horse must be both physically and mentally ready. You both must be focused on the task at hand, and must have a game plan. All of this requires copious amounts of work.

You’re wearing your lucky socks... and your lucky shirt. The quarter you just found was heads up.  So you must be ready, right?  Wrong.

We’ve all seen that person who gets lucky and wins after not riding their horse since the last barrel race. But, who really wants to be that person? I want to be consistent.

You need to use body english to make a winning team.  You need to be able to recognize the cause of your barrel horse problems and how to solve them. You need to be able to put the finishing touches on your current horse in order to reach your goals with that horse. These things may require you to go to a professional for help. There is no shame in that. The best ball players in the world go to spring training every year. 

Anxiety: Why can you have a ton of talent and the best horse, but still sabotage your run? And what can be done about it? Don’t let your thoughts get in your way!