I have never really considered myself a “barrel horse trainer”. In fact when people would ask what kind of training I do I would respond with, “Mostly colt starting.”. Partly because I haven’t had a chance to prove myself as a barrel horse trainer, and partly because I would rather be labeled as a horsewoman than categorized solely as a barrel horse trainer.
Besides that, I allowed someone steal my confidence with training barrel horses for far to long. I would hear her backhanded compliments and subtle digs at my ability to train barrel horses and I let it get the best of me.
Somewhere deep down though, I have always believed that through good horsemanship I would eventually prove that my methods of training work and will make successful barrel horses. I just needed to continue to put in the work and time. So that is exactly what I did. Work, study, work, research, work work work.
After all, barrel racing is just horsemanship at a high rate of speed. The same rules of horsemanship apply whether you are going fast or going slow.
Colt starting is where my love and passion for horses really grew. I loved cracking into the horse’s brain and understanding how they think and what motivates them. I loved the quick turnover of horses because it gave me a brand new chance to learn something from the next group of horses that came in.
Colt starting is what has made me the horsewoman I am now. I never want to lose that skill or let my timing and feel with a horse slip away so I will always do colt starting to a certain extent.
I used to think that I was at a disadvantage because I didn’t grow up in a rodeo family or grow up going to barrel races. But now I realize this is my biggest advantage.
I grew up in a family where I learned how to work hard and how to run a business with integrity. I learned how important it is to work within your means and know your business inside and out. My parents gave me a start in the horse world with a variety of horses that I rode and showed in 4-H and high school equestrian team. I learned dedication to great horse care and the basics of riding and competing.
Now as an adult, I’m able to use those skills to run my business and approach training barrel horses and competing from a little different vantage point. I have some theories that I am able to test out and see some success with because I started in the barrel horse world differently and was able to look at it from a birds eye view.
When I started this whole adventure with training horses, one of my biggest motivating goals was to raise the bar for horsemanship in barrel racing and change the barrel horse world for the better. It’s fun to see little bits of change at the local level. I’m seeing riders getting their horses more soft and controlled. I’m seeing them use their hands differently and I’m seeing fellow trainers get more body control with their horses. Although I wouldn’t dare take credit for inspiring any of those changes, I hope that as time goes on riders continue to focus on the horsemanship of barrel racing.
It’s an exciting time for me right now as the barrel horse world is opening up to me and I’m starting to get some really nice futurity prospects lined up for the next couple years. I’m excited to test my theories and funnel my horsemanship skills and ideas into higher levels of competition.
I wanted to share all this to give everyone an idea of how I got started and why I’m so passionate about horsemanship. I also hope to inspire you to start taking what you think is your greatest disadvantage and turn it into your advantage. Don’t ever let anyone steal your confidence. Find the unique things that you bring to the sport and take pride in those things.
I am not an extraordinary person, I’m just a girl who has big goals and an exdrodinary work ethic to achieve them. If I can do it, so can you.
If you need help setting goals or creating a game plan please reach out to me. If you lack confidence and can’t see the value in the unique things you bring to the sport, shoot me a message. I love to offer encouragement whenever I can.
Keep in touch with me on Facebook at JE Performance Horses LLC!!
Thank you Makayla Reed Photography for the great photos!
4 Replies to “High Speed Horsemanship and Sky High Goals”
This is a great article! With a love of everything horse when I was young and my parents with no interest and a 1/2 acre lot I never had the chance to own. I did help neighbors with chores for exchange in riding when I 8-10 before they moved. Everything I could swing a leg over became a horse LOL (my bike, the propane tank, etc.) Now at 44 (after kids) I have owned my own horse for 2 years. I am learning to ride and run barrels… (well currently I trot the barrels) My husband and I have started this venture together and often we require a lot of support from our horse friends and trainers we have met. I love your willingness to connect and help where you can including encouragement! It makes an old dog like me feel as though I can learn new tricks! Thank you again for the article!
Thank you so much so saying that Kathy! I love that you get to have horses now after having to wait so long! That is awesome that you are starting to barrel race too!! Thank you for reading my blog, please keep in touch!
Hello! I’m new to your blog but I have to say I love it! So far I’ve been binge reading your articles and everything is spot on, great job! I started riding when I was 12 as the only horsey person in my family and I quickly grew interested in barrel racing as I got older. I will my first belt buckle when I was 16 on a horse that I trained and I’m still proud of that buckle. Over the years though, as I’m 26 now, I feel as if my training isn’t good enough, even though my current horse was graciously complimented by a multiple NFR qualifier. Where I am now, if you don’t spit out a 1D run every time you run your not much of a trainer, or at least that’s how I feel like people see me.
Sorry, I’m a rambler haha. I just wanted to let you know that your blog post helped me believe in my training a little bit more and that I can tell myself I am good enough. Thank you.
Caitlin, thank you so much for reading my blog and for sharing your story with me too! It’s humbling to know that I may be able to help encourage someone else on their journey through my writing.💘