I’m sure you have all heard a version of the saying “if you are not scared to death when you are running down the alley, you are not going fast enough”. Honestly, I really don’t like this saying. I myself am terrified of not being in control. Sounds off for a barrel racer, who sends her horse in from the back 40 as fast as he can go, to be afraid of no brakes, right? I’m going to be honest with you. I am in control and in sync with my horse. It’s not fear, it’s excitement!
Lynx and I work as a team. This horse is wicked fast on a straight away. He stands 15.3 hands tall. He is capable of running flat out and making some wicked turns….he is also capable of splitting off, bucking and doing other random stuff. I call it “athletic”. He is most likely the only horse I have ever actually HUSTLED all the way to our pocket ON PURPOSE. See, Lynx, Zbar Lynx To Cash, is a rare breed. I hand selected his lines. We actually bought his granddam in 1998. She was on off the track quarter horse (appendix but had a good enough speed index to have white papers) that was super long bodied, had a horrible head and really long legs with short cannon bones. I bought her pretty cheap. Project Hold On was a whim…. like I saw her papers and liked her disposition so I snatched her up with a nice Jet Deck gelding named Blue Ribbon Ben. I really just wanted the gelding but…. moving on… I love to cross speed with cow. This mare was hot with old school run blood. Dash for Cash, Easy Jet, Raise A Native etc. She was literally born to run. She evidently hit her hip on the starting gate and ended her career. She was miserable to ride. Her long body and neck made her just rough. Finding the right stud to breed her too was not hard though. I found an own son of Doc’s Lynx out of a daughter of Magnolia Bar that had a pretty head and frankly, everything PHO did not have. They threw a nice filly we call Roxy. Sadly, Roxy ended up not being broke until she was 6. She is spoiled and lazy. She stands about 15.3 hands and has the bone structure of a working horse. Beautiful mare. She still lives on Z Bar ranch. My dad asked me to find a nice stud to cross with her. I picked out an own son of Peptonita out of an own daughter of Sugar Bars. Bam….we got Zbar Lynx To Cash! Lynx was an ugly duckling but grew into his legs and head around age five. This horse can top out around 38 mph on a straight away according to my gps app on my phone. I have never raced him on the track. He is/was too lazy for that. He only runs when HE wants to run! And to date, he only runs barrels for me. We breeze often though! He is so much fun!
Back to the start of this blog post. Lynx is a different type of horse. He is an odd combo of a free runner and push style. You don’t “handle” him to turn. Nope. You run him in all the way and sit your butt down. He will suck up the first if your timing is right! Then you get up and push all the way to second, sit…look up, then push to third…sit, look up, then get up and push all the way out. My reins are long. His hack is light. He wants to run and turn. And he is good at it too. Yes. I get nervous every single time we run. Excited nerves. Not scared nerves! I have faith that my horse loves me and loves his job. I have faith that he is going to run in and do his job. And I simply LOVE THE RUSH! I don’t fear it. I also have faith that God will keep us both safe. Trust me, when this horse turns a barrel and your butt is NOT where it should be, you will experience a sense of self preservation. But God has always put me back in my place. I have gone 100% over the horn and some how ended up back in the saddle and actually won a chunk of cash. My horse also stays under me. If I am off balance, he will move just right to put me back where I need to be and not drop me.
See, barrel racing isn’t about being crazy fast. It’s about working together as a TEAM to do the best you can as you set your course to run around three barrels and out of the arena with both of you together. Yes, we all get a little jittery, but if you are truly in fear, please stop. Please go back to the arena at home and work on a few things. One is the WHOA. Every single time I stop any of my horses, we take 3 steps back. I don’t care if we were just walking or breezing. Every single time, we whoa and take 3 steps back. All of my equine family knows this. My horses, my students, my friends, and my human family. Next is basic riding. Can you control your equine partner at all speeds? If not, you need to work on that before going back to run barrels. Then there is your personal balance. Can you sit comfortably at all speeds? Can you keep your stirrups? Can you control your horse? If not, please work on this! I have a lot of tips and tricks to teach these exact things to riders of all levels. I will do my best to create some videos to show how I teach these things as soon as I can.
One more thing before I sign off. If you have a fear. Some type of anxiety creating fear with one of your equine partners, please figure out a way to get over that fear before you haul to a race. If need be, let someone else, who doesn’t share that fear, run that horse. Your horse can feel your fear. He can actually feel all of your emotions. So don’t ever step on one with negative thoughts. Yes, sometimes I am sad for no horse reasons and I go ride. My horse makes me happy. But I do my best not to get on a horse that I have some type of anxiety causing fear. I have Lynx’s maternal brother that is currently being jockey’ed by a friend because I have an anxiety reaction to the thought of running him. Until I can get out of my own head, it’s best for him to not experience my anxiety. It will only cause issues down the road. I have witnessed it too many times. It’s totally ok to ask for help y’all! Have a blessed week!