Compiled by Abigail Boatwright

Nicole Monroe

Rituals
Any time you ride colts, there’s always a ritual. They take more to get ready. They are not open horses—you can’t go and lope five circles and then run. There’s a lot more to warming up at an early age. Josie (JL Josie Bar) needs to be ridden down a little bit until she feels good and will go pretty easy. I slow work her in draw reins and make her set and square her up around on the barrels. I do a lot of slow work with her. You don’t have to do anything fast with her during the week or get her ready. She can run easy.

Advice
Just stick with it. Barrel horses can humble you fast. We always knew [JL Josie Bar] was good enough to be good, but she just came out a little slower. She hasn’t won a ton in futurities up until now. She’s won a couple in the average, and won some money, but she’s just always right out of it because she’s messed up a little bit. Be patient. They are young.

NicoleMonroeAction9916AP817 webNicole Monroe and JL Josie Bar won the overall 1D award at the 2016 NBHA Bama Blast. Photo by James Phifer.Lesley Bethune

Advice
Do not let people get to your head. People love to talk but stay focused on your main goal and never be the one that talks bad about others either. If God blesses you with winning, never let it go to your head—stay humble and always help others. If your horse starts to have bad runs, listen to your horse…take your horse to a GOOD barrel racing vet to make sure it’s not a pain issue. If they clear the vet check, then study your runs and see where the problem is. Don’t have too much pride to ask a rider who knows what it takes to win to help you figure out the issue. It could be something as simple as changing a bit, your timing, saddle is not fitting correctly or maybe the horse needs to be treated for ulcers. Be open to learn new things from someone that has been there and done that.

Rituals
With Hotty (Coming In Hot), I learned she still needs to just trot through the pattern one time and look around so she can know exactly where the barrels are. With Baby (Star Bright Hancock), I like to breeze her the day before a show (run hard on a straight away) to help free her up, because she has turning on her mind the whole run, which causes us to tip some barrels.

Lacie Pound McFay

Advice
Patience. Have patience with your horse and understand that every run will not be a winning run. Consistency comes from several years of inconsistency.  
Rituals
I always pray before any of my runs.


Abigail Boatwright is an award-winning journalist based out of Texas. Email comments on this article to [email protected]

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