It’s been quite a while since I have posted anything on this blog and I apologize! My life has been very busy since December with the holidays and a big move from Utah back home up to Eastern Washington. I will go more detail into the move when things are more settled, hopefully here in the next few weeks. I’m a bit superstitious so I don’t want to jinx anything! I will say that I officially do not like moving during the winter especially when it involves hauling horses! After starting out the drive in negative double-digit degree weather, a horse trailer tire pit stop at Les Schwab’s, and running into a major blizzard towards the end, it was quite the journey! It took us over 11 hours to get home from Idaho Falls where it usually takes about 8.5-9 hours with horses! I’m just glad we made it home safely! Kudos’ to my boyfriend and my dad for all their help! I would not have been able to do it with out them!
When we arrived in Idaho Falls from Logan, UT, we stayed there for about a week before venturing off to Eastern Washington. I hauled my mare Roxy to my trainers place in Blackfoot so she can start her training with him this past month. She has been in training for about two weeks now and is doing awesome! I really hope we can get her competing at some futurities this spring!
1 Week Progress Video:
2 Week Progress Video:
Forest, survived the crazy trip home! He handled it like a champ! I think he will make a great rodeo horse in the future if he can handle all the bumps in the journey we experienced! Since my parents only have outdoor riding areas, I haven’t been able to work him much. He is loving his rest and recovery time though from his injury. I might haul him to an indoor arena once some more snow melts and see how he is moving. He seems to be walking around well. He hasn’t had any issues with swelling on his injured sesamoid bone on his front leg. Read here for background on his injury.
While I have been searching for jobs, I have had quite a bit of time thinking about my horsemanship goals for this coming 2017 competition season. I recently finished making my 2016 Re-Cap video of all my barrel runs and practice runs from 2016. I didn’t have a someone taking video of all of my barrel racing runs but that is okay. I have created re-cap videos for the last few years and they are very beneficial to my horsemanship. It is great to see all the progress I have made with my horses over the year.
Here is the video I created for 2016:
2016 was a year of ups and downs for the horses. I dealt with a lot of injuries and I hope that 2017 will be much better. 2016 started out with Roxy having a horrible abscess in her hock which she was finally healed from in March. The injury set back her training quite a bit. Forest was sound until after our last competition in June, where he caught his leg in a barbwire fence. Luckily he healed up quickly from that injury. After I got him re-conditioned he bruised his sesamoid bone on his front left leg in September. I really hope I can start riding him consistently this spring.
Other than the injuries, I thought Forest and I made quit a bit of improvement. You can see how our confidence builds throughout each run. We finally found a rhythm until he was injured for the season. With Forest’s injury, I was able to really focus on Roxy’s training all summer. I was able to build a strong reining foundation on her this summer. She also learned the barrel pattern very quickly. I’m excited to see how she progresses in 2017! I think Forest better step up his game because she is going to be something special!
2017 Horsemanship Goals:
After reviewing my re-cap video and thinking about my riding throughout 2016, I have set 5 major goals for me this 2017 year. I really hope to accomplish these goals in 2017 and improve my horsemanship. I really hope that 2017 will be a successful year and that my horses will stay strong and healthy! Cheers to 2017!
Use more leg, less hands:
This is one goal that I have always struggled with and this year I hope to have much quieter hands in all aspects of my riding. In the practice pen, I have trained myself to use more legs and just use my hands for slight guidance when needed. I think about it more during practice and focus on using my legs first and then my hands. Although I have noticed when I compete, I sometimes almost forget about my legs and just use my hands, which messes up my barrel racing runs! This year, I want to focus on perfecting this. I want to retrain my thinking and muscle memory so I use my legs first and then use my hands if needed both in the competition and practice pen. It is going to take some practice and I really need to get my core in shape this year to be able to rely on my legs more than my hands. Once I grasp this, I know my barrel runs will improve and my horses will be happier with me too! It will make me a better rider and trainer.
Retrain my muscle memory
When I started working with my new trainer, I realized that his method is completely different from any other method I have been taught under in the past. When I was younger, I took lessons with trainers who were not professional barrel racers. I won’t say their methods are wrong, they are just not as up to speed with today’s new innovative methods of training barrel horses. I learned to babysit my horses throughout their whole turns (which I will get into next). My trainer on the other hand, focuses on setting the horse up for the turn before getting to the barrel and then letting the horse turn on their own- which helps your turns become more automatic and builds up speed. When I first heard my trainer explain his training method, a huge light bulb went of in my head about why this theory is so brilliant and how it would have solved so many problems I have had in the past! The problem is, I have to re-train my muscle memory, especially during competition! I have been barrel racing using my old method for over 14 years, so this is not easy at all! I’m hoping by this summer I can fully re-train my muscle memory and perfect his training method. Luckily I was able to do a lot of slow work this summer with Roxy while Forest was injured so it has been helping me re-train my muscle memory. I know that this goal may take a few years but I really hope I can master it this new year!
Less babysitting my horses, more trust
One thing that my old boss and my current trainer have yelled out to me a few times is to quit baby sitting my horses! When I say babysitting, I mean that I play things safe so my horses don’t mess up. This can be bad because I tend to keep my horses in a certain comfort zone, and I have a hard time trusting my horses when I push them out of that comfort zone. With the goal I mentioned above, I tend to help my horses turn around the barrel too much when I need to be letting them turn on their own. For example, I hold up my inside rein for to long of a time while going around the barrel making sure that the horse will complete their turn, even though the horse knows how to on it’s own! I have a hard time allowing the horse to fail on it’s own, when I have set them up correctly. This is something that I hope to work on when I retrain my muscle memory. It will help me gain more trust with each of my horses.
Be more confident in competition setting
In 2016, I noticed that my confidence at competitions was lacking. Since last year was my first time competing in Utah, I noticed I was nervous at many races that I attended. Utah competition was tough and I was exhibitioning Forest with training runs instead of hoping to win big awards. I kept letting my mind get filled with thoughts that we weren’t as good as the other girls which I never noticed myself doing back at home. It might have been because I didn’t know anyone at these competitions and didn’t have a supporting group of friends like I do at competitions back home. I was also having some consistency issues with Forest who ducked a few barrels at some of the competitions. Either way, I hope to be fierce and confident this year. If I’m not confident, I can’t expect my horse to be, so I definitely need to work on my confidence this new year!
Attend more races
In 2016 I did not attend as many races as I had planned, because Forest was injured later that summer. This year I am looking forward to competiting with both Roxy and Forest, now that Roxy is futurity and competition eligible! I hope that this year I can go to a lot more races with both Roxy and Forest. I hope that my trainer will be able to race Roxy at a few futurities this spring/summer and that I will also be able to race her at a few after he does. I would love Forest to be consistant in the 2D range and hopefully make some 1D times this coming season. Right now I want Forest to be sound, but I can’t wait to race that horse again! I would also love to see Roxy place well in a futurity, that would be a dream come true.