01-29-2010, 04:12 AM
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Agreed. I can't help but shake my head at all these PETA protesters going after bull riders and calf ropers - if they bothered to open their eyes, they'd see the vicious little witches with jaw breaker bits and no brains to save a rock are the most appalling abusive rodeo go'ers. It makes me cringe watching how idiotically half these women treat their animals - but somehow because they're women, they must be kinder then cowboys?!
Kudos to you for doing it right. Barrel racing has developed such a tarnished image, and it ticks me off because I love it as a sport. Racehorses don't need to be razzed before a race. Show jumpers don't need to be razzed before a course. Why on earth is it acceptable for barrel racers to have uncontrollable mounts who disolve into neurotic puddles as soon as they see a gate? I do not believe for even a second that amping an animal up that much give you ANY competitive edge. They run so blindly into their turns nowadays, it's amazing we don't see more wrecks. These girls just drill the pattern into their poor brains and then hang on for dear life, kicking and hollering and bouncing the entire way. It's disgraceful that such a sport has allowed every last shred of horsemanship fly out the window, waving as it goes.
Haha, anyway, sorry for ranting. I agree totally with kevinshorses, a good reining foundation on your horse will automatically put you three steps ahead of most of your competitors. It also gives your horse more to think about then just a pattern - it teaches him not to lose his marbles when he sees a gate because he's not quite sure exactly what you guys may be doing, so he doesn't have to get "excited" yet. After seeing what barrel horses have become, I don't think I could ever do my mount a disservice by turning him/her into ONLY a barrel racer. Horses need more stimulation then racing around the same pattern forty times a day. I think in the long run, your chances of winning are going to be much better when you have a horse that responds to you, not to the pattern. Heart isn't developed by making your horse such a neurotic mess that he looks "amped to run!" Heart is developed by understanding and making your horse enjoy his work.
As long as you keep those key elements in mind, I have zero issues with barrel racing and I can guarantee a lot of horses find it hella fun as it's a little less controlled then most disciplines and let's them really rip. The only negatives I see in barrel racing are obsessive twits with NO regard for their mount. I do not see why injury should be prevelant if they would actually bother to do something OTHER then slamming their horses tendons into the dirt, or their asses on their backs for that matter. These same idiots are usually running 2 and 3 year olds around the patterns, so that could be a huge issue in lameness as older horses.
Best of luck! It's always exciting to meet someone who wants to do it RIGHT and instill the good old heart and soul of true barrel racing!