Daily routine of a competing barrel racer.
Chasing the cans or barrel racing is becoming more popular each year. Once created as a way for women to also compete in Rodeos, it has now become an international sport. Barrel racing relies on the relationship between rider and horse. For the duration of the course, they must move and think as one. This combination can and will shave even a hundredth of a second off their finishing time.
Get your game plan on riders.
No, it’s not a football game but barrel racing is serious stuff. Get your game plan locked in. Part of being a barrel racer is having the smarts to compete and adjust to different arenas and atmospheres. It’s about knowing your horse and the conditions that they thrive in. If there is a fallen competitor before you, does it warp your game plan or are you mentally prepared and committed? It’s all part of the daily routine of a competing barrel racer.
Game on its “competition day.”
No matter whether you are arriving the day of competition or the day before, you will still have a fair bit to do to get you and your horse competition ready. Having a well-organised horse trailer will save time as it’s your home away from home or stable away from stable. Washing your horse the day before competition will save time and effort. Doing the majority of grooming, wrapping and combing the day before means you only need to do a quick mini groom before you take them to warm up.
If this is your first time at a certain arena, then make sure you scope out where everything is in advance. Warm up areas, on site Veterinarian (if they have one), First Aid as well as competing zones. The last thing you want is to be shut out of the competition because you were late getting to the arena. Planning is key to ensuring a hassle free ride.
Warm up before competing
There is no way they will easily arc around barrels while cold; this can also be detrimental to their muscles and ligaments. Allowing them adequate warming up time will help set the mood and get them excited. The warm up routine for each horse differs, and you know from the long hours of training when your horse is ready and raring to go.
Now, back to that game plan! Stick to your guns. You know your horse and your ability. Don’t be afraid to push a little harder and ask a little more of the both of you. Lock out the crowd and focus on the prize. If someone has a fall or hits a barrel then don’t let it bother you. Yes, these things happen, but not to you, and not today. Visualise the path you will take around the barrels repeatedly so that as soon as you take off from the finishing line it becomes instinct.
After you pass the finishing line make sure you reward yourself. Even if things didn’t go to plan. If you make a mistake, then work on it for next time. Your horse will pick up on any disappointment. There is always next time. If you did well and beat a PB or tried a new tactic then make sure you celebrate.
Remember to cool your horse down and give them a treat. Add a little extra love and care during their post-competition grooming. Travel and competing can take a toll on your horse.
Why Barrel racing horses develop Gastric Ulcers.
Competing horses are very suspect to Equine Gastric Ulcer Syndrome (EGUS) due to the stress of travel, stabling, training and diet. Using a product like Omeprazole will help tame gastric ulcers. If your horse doesn’t suffer gastric ulcers yet then using it as a proactive measure will help keep them at bay.
Planning the yearly circuit in advance can save money
Competing can be a costly affair with the payment of entry fees, travel expenses and being away from home. Make some new friends on the circuit and share the costs and burden. Horse pooling with your trailer can be a great way to reduce the costs of travelling. Plan the circuit ahead. If money is tight this year, then pick and choose the races you want to do really. Many barrel racers will tell you the winner’s purse doesn’t always cover the costs of competing throughout the season, but it does help out a little.
Bring on the Competition
Trust your instinct and your relationship with your horse when competing. Stick to the game plan and the rest is in the fate of the gods. Either you will win or you won’t. The next competition is only a “flying lead ” away. Go hard or go home.
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