Training Barrel Horses with Tana Renick

I’m excited to share with you an interview with my great friend Tana Renick!

I was blessed that Tana took me under her wing as an intern a few years ago. I learned more than I could have imagined was possible in the short time I was there. I came to admire her straight forward, no nonsense approach to horses and people alike.

Tana has been barrel racing and training her own barrel horses for most of her life. Her horsemanship and knowledge is the sum of a lifetime of experience and passion for horses.

Tana was the 2011 Dodge Circuit Champion, two time Rodeo Houston Super Series winner, four time Prairie Circuit finalist and two time year end champion. She was also a two time Texas Circuit finalist.

Tana continues bringing up great horses in her training program and passes along her knowledge and experience in her clinics.

Without further ado, here is what she has to say about the questions I threw at her!

1.)What physical qualities and personality traits do you look for when you are picking out prospect?

The first thing I look for is balance. I want their shoulders and hips even, good straight legs and their hocks low to the ground. I won’t buy one that has a lot of white around its eyes. I will look at swirl patterns too but if the swirls aren’t perfect I can deal with that. The last I want is a big soft eye on a horse. When I look at prospects, I don’t want to know how their bred until I find one that I like conformationally.

2.)What are your go to bits for making a run and why?

I love hacks especially the Wild Child Hack. I can’t narrow bits down because I am an addict. I run a lot in JD BITS medium shank lifter type with a copper roller, it fits a lot of horses. I also have three Merrill bits that I love for the quick response I get. I will mainly use my hack on horses that need to quicken up there feet around a turn and especially if they need to be snappier on the back side of a turn!

3.)When you are packing the trailer for an event what are three things you CANNOT leave home without?

My nebulizer, wildchild hack and PHT magnet blanket.

4.)What is the most meaningful win you have ever had and why?

Winning the Dodge National Circuit Title. Me and my horse XV Wild Child, Sherry Cervi (Sting Ray), Lisa Lockhart (Louie) and Jessi Egaleburger were all in the sudden death round. It was my first time making two runs back to back. It was so special to me because my mare showed everyone her heart and grit and that she could handle that type of competion. My little girl was three years old and her excitement for me was priceless!

5.)If you could make a run on any horse past or present, who would you choose and why?

One more run on my mare, XV Wild Child. There is not any other I would want to run!

6.)What is your pre run routine? Do you do anything specific to prepare mentally?

I make sure my horses are moving off of my legs. I will do figure eights with reverse arcs to reinforce rib position. I just keep them as calm and relaxed as possible and away from any source of tension. Mentally, I take deep slow breaths until my belly button and spine tighten, hold it for six seconds then release for eight. I will do that over and over if I need to. Then as I go in I say to myself “SLOW DOWN!” That’s gets me calm & focused for some reason! If that doesn’t work a say “MADD DOG MEAN” and we leave!!!

7.)How do you decide when a young horse is ready to start hauling to exhibition?

When they are going three-quarter speed at home and it’s almost perfect… but sometimes the weather won’t allow conditions to be ideal at home so I’ll exhibition them when they are baby loping if I have to. Any experience is great for them, but if they are SUPER spooky, then I will ride them a lot longer at home before we go out in public.

8.)What kinds of horse therapies do you consistently use that you feel give you the best results?

Definitely my PHT magnet blanket and Back On Track sheet! I have a Back On Track mattress pad cover on my bed and I can’t believe the difference it has made for me. Plus, my Ciropractor (Shawna Turner) checks them all every two weeks, and occasional Magnawave therapy is great too!

9.)You have a unique way of patterning your horses that makes for a snappy fluid turn, can you explain your approach and positioning to achieve this?

I want a horse really round in the ribs and their inside driving leg up under them for snap and power leaving a turn. I work a lot on my four barrel drill. I take them about ten foot to the side of the barrel and where my leg is past then make a ninety degree turn to the barrel then pick them up around the turn, giving room on the backside for another ninety degree turn to get them to be snappy. It sounds crazy yes but if u are loping and all of a sudden elevate your hands and make a ninety degree turn the horse automatically has a natural break in his ribs if done correctly. This way there is not constant contact on the horses mouth and they will hook up to a turn much better and faster. In between I’ll do exercises keeping them tight around a turn really round.

10.)How can people get in touch with you for lessons or clinics?

They can message me on Facebook!

Be sure to go follow Tana on Facebook to keep up with her clinic schedule or shoot her a message to set something up with her!

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