Barrel Racers Do You Want To Be Faster?

January 11, 2019

Barrel Racing is all about Straight Lines and Tight Turns. 

An average running stride of a horse takes approximately .25 seconds while an average turn stride takes .50 seconds.

Make a run and then go examine your tracks. Decide where you can eliminate unnecessary steps.   Running straighter to the barrel and driving straight out of it to the next barrel can make a big difference.  Look where you want to go.  Ride to your pocket. (not too close, not to wide)  Keep your horse between your hands, between your legs.  Balance, rhythm, timing equals Feel, and that equals Success!

In the words of NFR Barrel Racer, Lisa Lockhart, "the success of any athletic maneuver, no matter the sport, comes down to preparation.  Even the most lightening fast moves (especially the most lightening fast moves), can be traced back to proper preparation, sometimes as subtle as a shift in weight that occurs in a fraction of a second." 

Set your horse up to Win.  Be a patient, directive rider; the release and reward method is effective.  It develops a good attitude with "try".  Your Hands communicate your message.  If you send the message, and don't release and reward  your horse for his response, he will become resistant and dead.   Your legs also communicate; Inside leg asks for the shape, outside leg keeps the shape.  Proper preparation is different for each horse, therefore, it can take some experimentation to determine the timing and combination of cues (seat, rein and leg pressure) that your horse responds best to.

Snap and quickness around a barrel comes from driving with equal and even power off both hind legs as you leave the barrel.   Helping a horse stay round in a turn has a lot to do with the degree of contact maintained through the reins and consistent, supportive, guiding contact with your legs. Round turns keep the horses hind end engaged properly, directly behind the front end.  If your horse pushes with more power on one leg than the other, a movement in one direction or the other results and your horse either bows out of the barrel or comes back over the top of it.

Barrel Racing is a process.  Miscalculations in timing, cues and application in this split second sport takes patience and perseverance to figure out.  Barrel Racing is both an Art and a Science.  Like a dance, it is horse and rider, synchronizing moves to achieve oneness.  There will be those days when you want to quit! But don't!  Persevere - you can and will - make barrel racing fun, enjoyable and efficient.

 




Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.


Also in Connolly

Saddle Up and Ride

May 09, 2020

The ubiquitous quandary of 2020 - What to do when you don't know what to do - Saddle Up! A horse brings out the cowboy way, which offers a treasure to the world, that will leave it poorer if ignored.  When these values are not woven through the everyday cloth of normal life, then the fabric of life is weak.  Cowboys are strong.  Cowboys use creative ingenuity.  They cannot sit back and wait for someone else.  That is not part of a cowboy's DNA.  They're optimistic and the future is exciting b...

Continue Reading

Changing Seasons
Changing Seasons

February 13, 2020

Changing seasons are the keeper of our dreams.  A statement worth reflection because life too has seasons and dreams.

Continue Reading

Sixth Sense

January 11, 2020

It's uncanny how much we use our senses in western culture - whether riding a horse, chasing a cow or sniffing a handful of alfalfa hay.  See it, smell it, touch it, hear it, taste it.  We do these things every day.  It gives birth to that innate sixth sense - that natural ability to know things.

Continue Reading