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.
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!