More Winning Ways by Lyndee Stairs

Quite often I am asked “How do I make a rodeo horse”? 

The move from jackpots or futurities to rodeos is a big step and also requires training.

You need to prepare your horse by exposing him to stressful situations. You need to make sure he knows his job and is confident and calm. He needs to know that barrels grow out of all different types of arenas. Your horse needs to be able to focus on his job and not worry about any of his surroundings.

...Or maybe you should? Not sure where that saying came from, but I have always thought it was odd.

I have been training barrel horses for 20 years, and have ridden horses for just about all of my life. During this time, I have seen and experienced many different kinds of problems because of a horse’s teeth.

Our outlook on training is to keep the horses happy. We are always working to keep training a pleasant experience for a horse.  Remember, it is hard for a horse to forget a maneuver that included pain.


Nothing can replace the time you spend getting to know a horse. Pay attention to their personalities.  Watch them eat. Spend time brushing them. Look for changes. This way you can detect a problem or soreness before it becomes a big issue. Then find the appropriate professional to help, veterinarian, dentist, chiropractor or maybe even just you. 

Along the progression to making a winning barrel horse, there are important steps to be taken.

Equally important as the horse’s pedigree, correct conformation, good nutrition and health, is proper basic training.

The odds of a young horse completing his training and given a chance to become a great barrel horse are considerably higher when his basics are complete with a proper foundation. I call it building on the basics. But you can’t build without the basics.