On the weekend I had the pleasure of taking the Carman Pozzobon Barrel Racing Clinic. If you have been following me for a while, you will know that horses and barrel racing are a big part of my life. Barrel Racing and riding my horses are my escape when I can’t escape to the mountains. With the clinic approaching and checking the weather, I was very hesitant about calling to cancel my spot to the point of not caring if I would get my investment back or not. My horses come first and in the middle of winter hauling below -18-20 is not something I like to do. When the option came up to rent stalls I booked my stall immediately knowing that if I only had to haul my horse twice it would take a lot of stress off and worry off my shoulders.
On the first morning of the clinic woke up ready to roll it was a lot warmer than I thought it would be so I loaded up and headed to the arena. As I drove, I started to get nervous as I have only hauled him and hand full of times and hadn’t ridden him in over a month. We saddled up and headed to warm up, Max my 5yr old can be a bit stubborn and testy if I don't ride him regularly. We warmed up and started off the clinic with a run to see where everyone is at. To my surprise, Max did a nice lope through the patten. Next, we started on some drill. Slow work everything was going great!!
After lunch, we moved on to some new drills and started to add some speed. When it was my turn for the drill it was four barrels set out in a square and you lope around each barrel crossing in the center of the square each time. I trotted through then loped to the left no problem. Next, it was my turn to go to the right. We trotted through and when I asked for a lope he would not give me his lead. We fought and fought and I couldn’t get it. I knew he knew his leads so I became frustrated, this is very basic from my point of view and where I am in the sport. I worked on it for probably 20 minutes in the corner by myself. I finally got it but only for a couple of steps before he switched back.
**Insider info if you don’t know much about horses. When horses are loping they will pick up a lead, you know you are in the correct lead if the inside front leg of the horse reaches further than the outside leg. When your horse is in the correct lead the circles will feel smooth and balance.***
I decided to give him a rest as I got what I wanted. We moved on the next drill and once again when I asked for the right lead we fought and fought and fought some more. Finally, he gave in and I got it and was able to complete the final drill of the day. As I cooled him out I could feel the frustration come over me. This frustration hit me like a wave. I was so mad at myself. I was a little mad at Max but mostly at myself. I cooled Max out, unsaddled and reflected on my day. I was becoming very clear that if I wanted to be success full in this game I am going to need to find more time for my horses. They need me to be more consistent. Next, I stepped and look at my life. Do I really want to be doing this… my life is a lot different now than when I set out on this journey of making my own barrel horse.
Since I brought my colts home, I quit my job, started my own business, pick up a new hobby of dirt biking which I love (it is something my husband and I get to do together). So my time has become very limited.
I talked with the Carman about what she thought I should do.
Continue with Max the next day
Take him home and bring back Minow
Bring Snip or Bacardi and just enjoy the day on my horse.
I decided to leave Max there for the night and sleep on it. I could always bring back another horse in the morning. If I decided I didn’t want to ride Max.
I slept on it and showed up the next morning with my big girl panties on! I saddled up and decided to move forward with Max. As frustrated as I was with the situation the only way to move forward was to show up and have the patience for the process.
Day 2 we started with the drills and once again Max made me work to get the right lead but each time it got easier. By the end of the drills, we were picking up his right lead and holding it fine. We moved on to pattern work. We started off trotting. I had decided that I wasn’t going to lope the pattern if I couldn’t get the lead. I also had the struggle of not wanting to take up everyone else's time fighting for his lead. Much to my surprise with each run through it got easier and easier to get the lead. By the end of the clinic, we were high loping the pattern.
To conclude from my complete frustration with myself and Max on Saturday night. So much frustration I was contemplating selling both colts and taking a break from horses for a bit. To coming back Sunday morning refocus, with a clear mind full of patience for the process, to feeling complete success.
If the weather would have been warmer I most likely would have switched out horses and not had the success of the weekend with Max.
When life gets hard lean into the frustration and look for the lesson. This is where my STEPS come in… Look for STRENGTH within. Know it will take TIME. You will have to put in the ENERGY and the work. Be PATIENT with yourself as you move through the process and enjoy the SUCCESS when you come out the other end.