When I say forward momentum, I don't mean just like in going run barrels of being fast with your horse. I mean you being mentally forward.
Let’s say you’re in a run and you make mistake; maybe you blow by the first barrel, you sit too early on the second, or you don’t get the approach that you are looking for. What do you do for the rest the run?
I see a lot of barrel racers quit riding when a mistake happens. Not just at local barrel races but even in the big leagues. Why is this such an issue?
The fact is that winners don't quit. Winners believe in themselves and they believe in their horse. When you quit on your horse you’re telling them that you don't believe in them.
You never want to create resistance with your horse while they're making a run. Quitting on your horse is going to cause resistance which, in turn, will cause resentment. It's all about relationship building during a run and they need to be able to believe in you.
When you're lining up in the alley, you are telling your horse that it's go-time, so they need to believe that, and you need to believe that. You need to be thinking that it's go-time and give your all every time. So, you quitting is only giving your horse more resistance.
You need to be true to yourself and to your horse. When I'm talking about this I'm not saying just go balls to the walls literally. Go as fast as your horse is comfortable. Work to keep their confidence and keep your confidence but don't give up on them. Ride them to their best ability.
Mental momentum also means you need to be there with your horse. Your horse is in the moment, so you need to be in the moment with your horse. If you're thinking about the outcome of your run instead of thinking step-by-step or riding stride for stride, like I always say, you’re thinking about what's going to happen in the end. What if I hit a barrel? Am I going to win this? What’s my pattern going to look like? By thinking these things, you are already 1000 steps ahead of your horse and the horses only thinking one step at a time.
So, if you’re focused on the outcome you are already riding ahead of your horse when you need to be riding with your horse. Therefore, it’s so important to be in the moment and be present. A good way to know for sure if you’re in the moment is if you can't see out of your peripheral vision then you're not in the moment you're ahead of it.
This can be practiced at any time, like any muscle, you need to use it to get stronger at it. Let's say you're driving or you're at work or you are reading this cool article by Badass Rodeo Company, if you don't see your peripheral vision you're not in the moment.
When you're lining up in the alley, make sure that you can see out of your peripheral vision. Take a few big deep breaths and think about the in-and-out and in-and-out. I also concentrate on the words stride for stride or I feel each hoof print to be as with my horse as possible.
Emotionally and physically you need to be with your horse in the moment. When you get to the gate, you must be all in, so your horse is all in. This means it's go time!