By Martha Josey, Photo courtesy Martha Josey
Sometimes, we need to step back and take a look at our barrel racing and give ourselves a grade, kind of like a 9-week report card in school. I have come up with this “Barrel Racer’s Test” to help you rate yourself and check your own progress. Simply answer true or false to each of
the following questions.
1.____I am getting the best runs out of my horse that he is capable of at this time.
2.____I win often.
3.____I can win on more than one horse.
4.____Someone else can get on my horse and make a better run than I do.
5.____I can win indoors and out.
6.____I keep detailed records on my horse and my barrel racing.
7.____I usually compete less than one time a month.
8.____I am a confident barrel racer.
9.____At this very moment, my equipment is clean and neatly put away.
10.___At this very moment, my horse’s stall is clean.
11.___I pay attention to my own health like I do my horse’s health.
12.___If someone were to call me and say they had entered me in a big money barrel race, I would be reluctant to go because I haven’t had enough time to prepare.
13.___I am a happy person.
14.___I get excited when I win something, but I try to act nonchalant.
15.___I am a better barrel racer now than I was a year ago.
Now, let’s look at your answers.
1. I am getting the best runs out of my horse that he is capable of at this time.
The best answer here is true, but if it is false and you know the reason, you should be doing something about it. Work with your horse more. More training will better both of you.
2. I win often.
The best answer here is true, but if it is false, pinpoint the areas in which you can improve and make a plan to do so.
3. I can win on more than one horse.
If the answer is false because you only have one horse to run, that’s OK. If you compete on two horses and only win on one, take a hard look at how you are riding the non-winning horse. Try to make some changes with him so you can do better.
4. Someone else can get on my horse and make a better run than I do.
If so, don’t get down about it. Instead, learn from what makes that person successful and try apply it to your riding.
5. I can win indoors and out.
If the answer is false, get to work on your horse and your confidence so you know you can win anywhere.
6. I keep detailed records on my horse
and my barrel racing.
How can you tell if you’re improving if you don’t have records to refer back to?
7. I usually compete less than one time a month.
This can vary from person to person, but generally speaking, it’s hard to keep yourself or your horse tuned up if you don’t compete at least every 10 days or so.
8. I am a confident barrel racer.
If you are not, get to work on whatever it takes for you to believe in yourself. Confidence is so important.
9. At this very moment, my equipment is clean and neatly put away.
Yes, it takes time and effort to care for your equipment, but it is expensive to replace and can be dangerous when neglected.
10. At this very moment, my horse’s stall is clean.
Once again, I hope everyone answered true to this one. No excuses!
11. I pay attention to my own health like I do my horse’s.
We all love an ice cream treat or candy bar now and then, especially when we stop to fuel up at a convenience store. If you had to answer false to this, try some new, healthy snacks between meals and you will find yourself feeling better, both mentally and physically. If you ask for help from friends and family, most often they will be more than happy to join you and support you in your efforts.
12. If someone were to call me and say they had entered me in a big money barrel race, I would be reluctant to go because I haven’t had enough time to prepare.
Be ready all the time. If you are working your horse regularly, you will be ready.
13. I am a happy person.
I hope you answered true to this. If there is something about your barrel racing or your life that makes you unhappy, take the proper steps needed to stay positive.
14. I get excited when I win something, but I try to act nonchalant.
Don’t do that! Enjoy your victory. You have worked so hard to win. Laugh, smile, and be happy!
15. I am a better barrel racer now than I was a year ago.
This should be everyone’s goal. You may not be first every time, but I would bet as long as you are improving with every run, you will be at the top soon. Remember, winners are never quitters and quitters are never winners. I hope this little test will help you as a barrel racer and as a person in general. Think about your answers and see if there are improvements next time you take this test. Life is short. Be the best you can be in and out of the arena.