Barrel Racing for the Fun of ItWritten by Bill Dunigan
BARREL RACING FOR THE FUN OF IT
Here is a sport for everyone. This activity offers to its enthusiasts relaxation of outdoors coupled with excitement of speed and unparallel connection with an animal many times larger, stronger, and faster than individual mounted on top. The only judge involved is clock. You wont find any style preferences, attitude, or subjective opinions here. Either you have fastest time or you don't.
Barrel racing has been around for years. It has been a game event in numerous competitions for decades where men, women, and children have enjoyed displaying their expertise at top speed for all to see. Most often first exposure to it comes from watching Rodeos. The cowboys introduced barrel racing into their list of events so their wives and girlfriends would have something to compete in at Rodeos. However, throughout rest of world it is open to and participated in by all.
The race is relatively simple at first glance. It consists of three barrels placed at specified distances in an arena in a triangular pattern, referred to as a cloverleaf pattern. Different associations have their own recommended distances. A general guideline would be ninety feet from first to second barrel and ninety feet to third. These distances vary anywhere from sixty to one hundred and five feet. However, once set, it remains same for all competitors in that race. The competitor enters arena at one end and proceeds at top speed around first barrel and then proceeds across arena to second, which must be turned in opposite direction from first. Next they proceed down arena to third barrel, which must be turned in same direction as second barrel. Then it's down centerline at breakneck speed across finish line. That's it, fastest time wins.
I have been teaching riding and barrel racing for years and have noticed a dramatic increase in number of individuals wanting to learn to barrel race. They don't say " I want to learn to ride", instead what I am hearing is "I want to barrel race". Of course like saying goes, that is really putting cart before horse. I normally don't have any problem resolving situation. Usually horse explains it rather quickly, and much better than I could. After that they understand just why they need to learn to ride and control horse before asking for speed. Then there are those who have been riding for some time and desire something different or more challenging. For these riders things move along much more quickly. They already have basics and simply need technical aspects. However, even for some of those with experience it takes some getting used to for speed. Once that is accomplished, there off and running.
Why All The Fuss About RelaxationWritten by Bill Dunigan
Why All The Fuss About Relaxation?
If you have ever taken many riding lessons I'm sure you have heard word "relaxation". It seems to be a staple in every instructors vocabulary. Have you ever wondered why so many teachers, trainers, and top riders place so much importance on it? Sometimes they are refering to relaxation on part of horse and other times it's rider being encoureged to relax more. What is it about this one aspect of riding horses that makes it so universaly important?
Something that we must realize before going any farther in this discussion is that there is a difference between riding a horse and working a horse. If we are simply out for a trail ride or using ring just to enjoy beautiful day on horseback, we are riding. On other hand if we are preparing for competition, trying to progress to next level of accomplishment in our chosen diciplin, or practicing what we learned in previous lesson, then we are working our horse. When we are just riding we are not doing anything in particular to bring about specific results within horse. However, when working our horse we have a real purpose, That purpose is to systematicaly and effectivly bring about improvement in physical and mental condition of horse.
When our horses are tense their mussles, tendons, ligaments, and joints are not able to be as fluid in all of their actions as they need to be. Since we are trying to progress and improve, we need horse able to performe to best of it's ability. If our horse is not relaxed while trying to accomplish this then there is no way to truly make kind of progress we are looking for. Not only does it make it impossible for us to atain desired results, it makes our horse more susseptable to injury. When horse is tense their movements become suddon and abrupt. This can cause them to strain or pull something quite easily without us ever asking them to do something difficult, or unusual. Remember, even though they are very large animals they are in many ways quite fragil. When we take over controls and start telling them when to stop or go, how to move, which way to look and bend, etc. we had better be correct, or we put them at a disadvantage when it comes to saving themselves from injury. The more relaxed we can keep them easier it is for them to take care of themselves when working. That relaxation enablems them to remain fluid in their movements. This is crutial if we want to avoid injuries.
The relaxation keeps horse mentaly able to understand and acept what we are wanting them to do. When they are not worried about self preservation from injury they are better able to cooperate with us. They must be able to trust us. If every time we attempt to work them we end up with a nervious, excited, frustrated horse then something is wrong. If this is often case than they will have a very difficult time trusting us. They are creatures of habit, and have excellent memories. Why should they trust us to give them a good experience today if last time was as unpleasant for them as it would have been for us. They will trust us when we have earned it, and not before.