The great debate! So I get the idea of having soft hands, correct feet etc. Spurs are an extension of your feet, not go fast torture devices. But have you ever “walked on eggshells” around a horse for fear of them spooking?
So I have a theory that I share with some friends. If you don’t ride your horse like a dead broke, seen it all, sane horse, then you will never get them there. I don’t mean jerking them around. I mean, throw the saddle on them. Don’t be quiet. Talk, dance, sing…. When you pull off the gear, pull it off. Let it hit the ground. I mean, take care of your stuff but don’t be all whisper quiet! The horses need to get used to random stuff too. If you have ever heard me run barrels, yes I said heard me, you would get it. I have tried to run quiet. With my mouth. But, my horse is like “mom? Are you ok?”. So I’m loud. Sorry!
Today we gained photographic evidence of our “horse’n around”! We call it Equine yoga! Needless to say, my horses really put up with a lot! We also carry pop up barrels, poles, ice chests and even chairs around from the saddle. I use my barrel horse to trim tree limbs because he is tall! He is used to them falling on his head! It happens!
So let’s all think about that the next time you go to saddle that flinchy horse!!! Swing wide! #resbarrelracing #resridinglessons #noonefellofftoday
When it comes to horses, in any discipline, we all have our way of doing things. A lot of the things we do are because someone else told us to do it THAT way. Think about it. Who up and decided that we should always lead, saddle and mount from the left side of the horse? If I had to guess, it was a right handed person! If you are leading on the left side of the horse, your right arm is your strongest, so that would make it easier to control the horse. Makes sense. Saddling from the right side is a different perspective . Reflect back to when men carried swords. They carried them on the left side to make them easy to draw from the scabbard once mounted. Can you imagine swinging your leg over a horse that had a steel sword strapped to it? Makes sense for back in the day!
So now I wonder why we mount from the left in modern day. It’s the side that the latigo and girth meet up to tighten a western saddle. English saddles, it’s the side the elastic straps are located (on my English saddle) so I assume it’s easier to re-adjust when you put your foot in the stirrup to get one and feel that your saddle is loose. Makes sense!
With all this being said, why do we do it every single time? Horses are used to routine. Their brains prefer this, that and there. I know mine do! However, I have been in many situations where I had to mount or dismount on the right side. I’m so glad that we had already worked on that move because I was in a bad bind! I highly recommend that you practice mounting, saddling and leading your horse from both sides. One day you will be in a situation that you have no other choice. We do things out of habit and perhaps there was a real strong reason for it, but I don’t often carry my sword anymore!
A barrel racer is a special breed of human. Please don’t judge us by our house or our clothes. We rather clean our truck/trailer/barn than the house. What makes a successful barrel racer is the people that support us. For me, it’s my husband. He fed our child and cleaned house while I was away. I haven’t gotten to go run away to a barrel race much this season and I was a bit stir crazy. When I said I wanted to run today, he check my fluids (truck) and my air (tires) and filled up my generator. I hit a barrel but when I came home, he said good job and asked if I had fun. Obviously, I had fun!
That is the the thing. We go into some weird withdrawals after not running. Sometimes it presents as depression. We lock out selves away and wait. I have only made 3 races this year. My brain was stuck. My mood was sour. I needed to run. It takes a special man to say “ok, go run.” Knowing the weather might not be in my favor and not knowing how my horse would do, he sent me on my way to go run. I said my prayers and asked to be safe and to keep all of us from injury. God’s will was done! I may have hit, but I was safe. I may have forgotten how to ride, but God kept us safe. That is the thing. That is what I asked for and I received.
My husband always tells me to go have fun. Not to win. Not to break a record. Just have fun. And I did!!!! He says if we depended on my winnings to live, it would be me, my horse and my dog. I don’t barrel race for income. I do it because I love it!
So when I came home, my child was fed, dinner for me, dishes done, and all is well. So tonight I ask you a simple question. Do you barrel race because you enjoy it or because you want to win?