You're going to your first Barrel Race. Your excitement is nearly uncontainable!
As you pull into the grounds, a not so unusual thought is, "I'm here, I'm so excited! And then it hits you...now what should I do"?
When you get to your event do a once over of your horse's general condition-legs, disposition and manner. Check out your equipment, anything you are going to use that day- saddle, pad, leg gear, bridle, reins, etc. Check your clothing- hat, boots and shirt. These are the essentials you need for a successful run; don't wait until the last minute to check these things out. It's nerve-wracking and a potential disaster to find out your bridle isn't in the trailer!
Check in at the Office. Find out what number you are; pay your fees; find out the order of events so you can determine when to start your warm up.
Ride in the arena if possible to let your horse see the sights and feel the ground conditions. If your horse is novice, exhibition runs can give you added experience.
Check out the arena; know the set up. How long is the alley; What's the distance and approach to the 1st barrel. Where are the barrels going to be set? How far off the fence are they? Is the gate open or closed? Where is my rate point, turn point, and drive point on each barrel? Make your Game Plan. In the infamous words of World Champion Lynn McKenzie-"Plan the Run; Run the Plan"
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