1 Arrive at least one hour before the barrel race.
2. Sign in so that all concentration will be on your horse.
3. Brush and pick your horse’s feet. This will allow you enough time if you need to find a horse shoer or some other small emergency that needs to be taken care of. I also massage my horse and use Lame Away and Wind Aide and Hoof Freeze at this time.
I have been barrel racing professionally for half of my life. We have won (Lance and I, and our equine partners) many titles, buckles, saddles, horse trailers and quite a bit of money. I have logged many, many hours in the saddle. Have won on more than one horse that we have trained. None of this could have been possible without being prepared and some degree of mental toughness. Winning takes lots of work and lots of knowledge.
Well finished, broke horses are easier to pull up and stop safely after a run, no matter the layout of the arena. That being said, I don’t like to make my horses stop straight and hard at the end of my runs. I feel every time we ram and jam on a barrel horse we are taking a toll on his hocks. Stopping at the end of your barrel run is not a jerk down. Ask first with your body, (by taking a deep seat and sitting on your pockets) then your voice, and then your hands. Sit down, give your horse a clue and then ask him to stop. Easier said than done, I know, but do it anyway.
Can your horse live up to your expectations?
Maybe you raised him. Maybe you bought him as a youngster and are personally attached. Maybe he is out of your old great mare? Have you tied all your hopes and barrel racing dreams to this horse of yours? Are you being let down?