This Christmas I have asked anyone that plans on giving me a gift to just give me cash so that I can attend a barrel racing clinic. I am just getting back into the sport after a four year hiatus and feel like this would be a great way to kick things off in the right direction. Furthermore, even if I wasn’t coming back from a break and had been barrel racing all along, I still feel like it would be beneficial for me to attend a barrel racing clinic.
If you have never attended a barrel racing clinic, or have not been to one in a while, I highly encourage you to sign up for one. There are so many great clinicians out there now and they can make an unbelievable impact on your results in the competition arena.
Don’t believe me? Consider these five reasons why you should attend a barrel racing clinic.
Start off on the Right Foot
For those of you who are new to the sport, going to a clinic can be invaluable. This is because they can teach you how to do things correctly right from the get-go. Rather than developing bad habits that will need to be corrected further on down the road, you will develop the habits that will bring you success for years to come.
A barrel racing clinic can teach a newbie all sorts of things beyond how to correctly ride. You can learn so much, including:
If your saddle is correctly fitting your horse and, if not, what you should look for in a replacement;
What kind of feed you should be giving a performance horse;
The types of bits used in barrel racing and which ones would be better suited for your horse; and
How to mentally prepare for a competitive run.
If you are new to the sport, I encourage you to find a well-known clinician and attend a clinic. Yes, you may feel intimidated by the more experienced riders that may be attending, but don’t sweat it. Every single one of them knows how it feels to be the novice.
Concentrated Training for Bigger Results in Less Time
Another reason to attend a barrel racing clinic is for the accelerated learning curve. There is nothing like having an expert focusing on you, telling you what to do differently and what you are doing correctly. And, additionally, they can tell you all of those things as you are doing them so you can immediately take action.
For the most part, I ride at home by myself. No one watches me and no one videos me. The only way I know if something is or is not working is if it feels good and if I notice my horse and I getting better. This can be a terribly long process. I cannot pinpoint in myself what I am doing wrong the way that an expert third party can.
This is where the magic of a barrel racing clinic happens. The realizations that can come about as a result of working with an expert, even for just a couple of days, can be absolutely incredible. Having someone tell you what you are doing wrong is worth way more than the price of a clinic.
Pick Up New Tips and Tricks
Everyone has a different way of doing things – even when it comes to something as seemingly simple as running around three tin cans. As such, you can learn something different from everyone. Go to ten different barrel racing clinics and you will likely be exposed to ten different training programs.
Why is this a good reason that you should attend a barrel racing clinic? Because what works for one person will not work for another. How one person teaches you to cue for first may not work for you and the particular horse you are on. However, that very same technique may work two years down the road when you are riding something else.
Similarly, maybe the riding style you are currently utilizing is not working for your horse. Go to a clinic and you may just find the solution by adopting some tips from another clinician.
Either way, if you do go to a barrel racing clinic, I encourage you to learn everything you can. Watch as the other riders are schooled. Their issue today may be your issue tomorrow. Take it all in. Make notes, if you choose. Carry that knowledge with you. You never know when you will need it.
Let’s be honest, if you want to get anywhere in the barrel racing world, it’s important if you know people. You need to know people who train, people who breed, and people who compete. Need a new horse? You need to know who to buy from. Need an issue solved? You need to know which trainers to trust. Need some help with entering? You need to know fellow competitors.
Attending a barrel racing clinic is a great way to meet others in the sport, particularly if you are just starting out. Many in the industry understand that you can never be too experienced at the sport in order to learn something. There is always something new to learn. As such, you can meet just about anyone at a clinic.
The benefit of a clinic is that you get to spend, in most cases, two or three days with these people riding and learning. This leaves ample opportunity to introduce yourself and make some connections that could serve you very well in your barrel racing career.
The last reason you should attend a barrel racing clinic is because they are just plain ol’ fun. Yes, clinics are tiring at the end of two or three days but they are so, so much fun. You get to hang out on your horse learning and noticeably improving.
If you go to a barrel racing for no other reason, then go to have fun. Who knows? You may just learn something that could be a turning point in your barrel racing.
Finish Line Thoughts
Whether you have never seen a belt buckle or have a trophy room exclusively for your buckles, you can benefit from going to a barrel racing clinic. Do your research to find a clinic that you believe would be worthwhile to go to and then hook up the trailer. What you can potentially take away from a clinic over the course of a couple of days is more than worth the price of the clinic itself.
And remember, it’s always a #gooddaytoride.
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