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Barrel Racing Tips - 5 Mistakes Beginner Barrel Racer Make

Heather Johnson avatar link


#1 Using their hands too much
It is best to use your body to slow your horse down. When you use your hands to “check” your horse it causes them to elevate right before the turn. Every time that you use your hands it slows your horse down. It is best to use your body posture to slow your horse down and to use your legs to move your horse over. Reins are for guiding in the turn. Keep them forward.
#2 Asking every barrel racer their opinion
I did this so much when I started. I would go to every barrel racer and ask their opinion on bits, my saddle, feed routine, warm up routine and the list goes on. Every time that someone gives you their opinion it erodes your confidence, because you have SO many suggestions that you don’t know which to follow. Find a mentor or a coach and go to them for their advice. Watch the professionals you admire (adopt their routines and see if it works for you)
#3 Wrong body position in the turns
Leaning. Falling forward. Elbow way behind the hip. Leaning forward and heels up. All of these different things cost time and throws your horse off balance. You want to really sit deep, push your hand into the horn and put your elbow into the spot just above the hip. This will lock you into your seat.
#4 Mixed signals to their barrel horse
I see this commonly. As a barrel racer is coming down the alley, their barrel horse is ready to go but you can see that the barrel racer is not sure. So they pull their barrel horse up just as their just about to go. This causes their barrel horse to stall in the alley way and then refuse to go in. Take a deep breath and line your barrel horse up with the third barrel.
#5 Holding their breath when going in the arena
Breath. Deep breaths. The rake before your barrel run, do box breathing - Breathe in for a 4 count. Hold your breath for a 4 count. Repeat. This will oxygenate your body and brain. Which helps to calm your anxiety and nerves, allows you to think during your run instead of coming out feeling like you blacked out.
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