Barrel racing Horsemanship
The popularity of the sport of barrel racing is at an all-time high. The Horsemanship needed to be competitive in this field is also very high.
I have noticed that the top hands in this arena are using techniques in their riding and in their thinking that are very much the same as what I have been learning from great horseman for decades. Awareness in the biomechanics of movement of the horse and how the riders posture effects them are what people in the dressage arena have been perfecting for centuries.
The clear mental picture that I use and teach others to use is the most effective tool that we have to reach our desired results with. So how does it apply to barrel racing? Well let’s have some fun here and see. The desired result in barrel run is to be the one that stops the time clock the fastest! Right? Isn’t it a fact that the fastest way from one place to another is in a straight line? Barrel racing is simply 4 straight lines with 3 designated direction changes. The winner of the race will always be the horse and rider that were the most efficient in getting from point to point.
This over simplification of the clear mental picture of barrel racing can now be implemented with good communication between a horse and rider! Yes, natural speed of the horse does play a part in stopping the time clock but speed without understanding from great Horsemanship will not work in a barrel race because of the confusion that will take place at each barrel.
A horse that agrees with its rider will not resist when it is asked to move in any direction. This is great Horsemanship. Complete understanding between a horse and a person. This resistance free agreement will be the fastest and most efficient way to navigate the 4lines and three turns called barrel racing.
The Horsemanship that produces this resistance free run will naturally start slow to develop understanding and the speed will come later. The ability to separate the horse out and for the rider to have the ability to easily move any part of the Horses body in any direction will be the first task at hand.
It will also be greatly beneficial for the rider of the barrel horse to become aware of their posture while riding so that they can communicate with their horses in the most effective and efficient way. The posture of the rider should always be in the conscious thought of the rider. This will set the stage for clear resistance free communication.
When the horse learns to feel of his rider and the rider knows how to feel for and of his horse you can now show your horse how to efficiently travel the 4 straight lines and three specific direction changes at each barrel and then the fastest horse Wins !!!