From one day to the next, from one horse to the next, it’s important to remember that all riders and horses are a work in progress. Riders who keep the big picture at the forefront of their minds are committed to bettering their skills for the good of their horses. They are able to be realistic about the investment of time it takes to work and improve, and they maintain balanced expectations of their horses. It’s very important that riders are able to align their expectations with the time it takes to accomplish goals. Without devoting a significant amount of time and work to improving, it’s very hard to take your barrel racing to the next level. It’s OK to make mistakes as long as you are working to be better. None of us are perfect riders, so it’s important to learn and analyze from one horse to the next because no two are the same and each horse has something to teach us.

Rating is a key component in barrel racing. Your horse’s ability to turn a barrel and perform is directly related to his ability to rate, something that can make or break your winning run. Renowned barrel horse trainer and competitor Dena Kirkpatrick has a few tips for overcoming the everyday problems riders face when correcting the lack of rate in their barrel horse.