As a barrel racer, I am competitive. It’s in my nature. It’s in my soul. I want to be the best and I take a mental note (sometimes write it down) about how I failed my horse during our runs. I want to always give all the credit to God. I want to always love my horses for how they try despite MY flaws. It has taken me MANY years to learn to not even compare myself to the other runners.
From a young age, I began to compete. I had one horse. After our competition, no matter how late it was, we would come home and I would plug the camcorder into the TV and watch my runs over an over. Analyzing what I did to get in the way of my horse. I kept a running log of my times in each arena. My goal was to beat myself. Run faster than I did last time. But as a teen, I still would look at others and pit myself to beat them. As I gained confidence and age, I slowly began to erase that part of my brain. Forget about everyone else. After all, my horse and I can only compete against ourselves and improve ourselves. We cannot change others.
Moving forward. I developed a way of thinking that I’m not sure is common in the barrel racing world. I don’t pay attention to the “winning time”. I don’t try to figure where I landed in the D’s. I don’t want to know. I still will analyze my run and pick apart what I did to get in the way of my horses and how I can improve. I still work towards beating my own times. I visualize my perfect run before I go in the arena and I love my horses no matter the outcome. Hit a barrel? Thanks for not killing me! Spin out wide? Thanks for not dropping me! Someone once told me that 99% of the time it’s the rider’s fault. I hold true to that theory!
When I do win a race or pull a check, I’m super stoked! Only 10-20%, depending on the number of runners, actually pull checks at a race! The money won is simply a blessing! I do my very very very best not to compare myself to other runners. I love to watch the girls that get it as much as I love to watch the younger generation get out there and do their best! I feel like barrels racers as a whole are hardest on themselves and the village needs to rain down the praise for all! So instead of checking the results every five seconds, instead of saying “so in so had a bad run so maybe I can pull a check”, lift up the racers around you! Congratulate them all! Be kind! Be friendly! Trust me, in the long run, it will build you up too! Go into that arena with a smile on your face, a prayer on your lips and positive vibes in your soul! Come out of the arena with a grateful heart, peaceful mind and love for the partner who just ran his heart out for you. It will sooth your soul and improve your outlook! ❤️