As horse owners are anxiously awaiting the warmer spring weather to get back outside on their horses, it gets harder and harder to sit inside during a rainy spring day, or in some parts of the country, waiting for the last of the ice and snow to melt away. If you find yourself facing a day that you can’t head out to ride, I encourage you to take advantage of this time to prepare for the warmer season. There are a lot of things you can do inside that will get you ready to run and haul when the weather clears.
1. Go over your date book schedule. There are several great apps available for download. If you use these you will always have your schedule with you. Make sure you enter all your upcoming events you’d like to attend. Also includes notes to remind you it’s time to have your horse wormed, shod, and vaccinated. You may also include dates to start your conditioning program. I personally keep a daily diary. Later I can go back and relive favorite times, performances, etc.
2. Do 15 to 20 minutes of exercise a day. You’d be surprised how quickly you can get out of shape when you are unable to ride.
3. Imagine at least 5 perfect performances on your horse each night. If you are a barrel racer: running a perfect pattern, a calf roper: a perfect run, etc. Your mind must know what is perfect before it can tell your body what to do for a flawless run.
4. Watch a training video at least once a week. You’ll be surprised how much this helps to get you in the mind frame to compete. Even if you watch your favorite video again and again, each time you will remember something that may have slipped your mind, or you may catch something you’ve never noticed before. (Barrel Racers – Training to Win is a great video for this. We also post many FREE great tips and instructional videos on my website, barrelracers.com.)
5. Write down your OBTAINABLE goals for the year. I always say, “A goal without a timeline is just a dream!” And never set yourself up as a failure by setting impossible goals. A goal should challenge you and still be obtainable.
6. Listen to motivating music. Make sure it is music you enjoy that makes you feel good. Keep it positive.
7. Read some motivating books, articles, or blogs. Once again, try to stick to things that will motivate you to be the best you can be. (I personally like to read Joel Olsteen’s daily devotional).
8. Play games or work puzzles. This keeps your competitive mindset alive and working puzzles is great exercise to develop your mind and keep it active.
9. Brush your horse! He will definitely enjoy it and he needs this more than ever during the colder season to keep his skin healthy. This is also a good time to do some stretching exercises for your horse.
10. Set your mind on positive things. This can be the goals we mentioned before, on being a better friend, son or daughter, brother or sister, father or mother. Positive areas of your personal life will always reflect in your performance or professional life
11. Wash all nylon and fleece items, as well as pads, blankets, leg wraps, horse boots, and bandages.
12. Clean and oil your saddle and all your leather tack. While you do this, make sure everything is not only clean, but in good shape (safety first). Replace or repair any equipment with wear and tear problems.
Use your “off-horse” time to make you a more organized, prepared competitor that will come across much more professionally. A little bit of rain can give you the opportunity to be a better competitor and person!
More tips, exercises, and helpful videos are available for free at barrelracers.com. My latest book, “Run to Win with ME” is also a very positive collection of information for horse owners and rodeo and horse show competitors. It is also available on barrelracers.com.
Let’s make it a great year! I’ll see you at the pay window.
You can find many great inside horse training tips and advice on my website: www.barrelracers.com. We are constantly updating videos to not only help just barrel racers, but anyone who owns a horse. Also, my new book, Run to Win with Me is a great reference guide that covers prospecting for a horse, proper equipment and safety, training exercises, how to recognize warning signs of health issues and so many other great subjects you should know as a horse owner. For more information, horse sales, products, or training questions, please call the Josey Western Store at 903 935-5358.
Martha Josey personifies barrel racing for many people. She was the first and only cowgirl to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo in four consecutive decades. She has the distinction of winning both the AQHA and WPRA World Championships in the same year. Her career has stretched, win-to-win, over four decades. For more information, visit BarrelRacers.com.
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This article was printed in Performance Horse Digest, Volume 9, Issue 3