Answer: Every person and every horse experiences an elevated level of excitement or nervous energy going from a jackpot to a rodeo. So, more than likely, in a case like this the rider is feeling stage fright as well. It is the rider’s job to stay calm and quiet and ride the horse the way you work it and practice it at home and at smaller shows, even when you go to the rodeo.

Charmayne James Photo by Newley Kartak

Charmayne James Photo by Newley Kartak

My advice is to stay steady and consistent. Don’t overdo it or under do it just because you are at a rodeo or larger competition.

If the horse is stopping around the barrels, especially the first, there’s a good chance that the rider has been pulling on the inside rein too much and the horse is running straight at the barrel. My advice is to ride two-handed and stay down the center of the arena when running to your first barrel. Stay to the left of the first barrel aiming at axis point three as a point of reference. You want the horse to track up and around the barrel not focusing straight at the barrel.

This is not a simple fix. It takes lots of riding, lots of work and dedication to developing good body control. Knowing your horse and working on perfecting the cues that result in great body control of your horse is what you need. It takes a lot of competition experience to perfect these skills, and it also requires consistent cues. Good luck!

For more information on Charmayne James, and her books, videos and clinics, visit Charmayne loves to hear your feedback so please feel free to e-mail comments or questions to [email protected].




Email comments or questions to [email protected]

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