Contributed by: Windy Griffith, Rebel Barrel Horses
We all go through a time where we would like to improve our performance. You may be at that place where you are competing well and placing but would like to get your performance to the next level. I would like to share some thoughts that may help you evaluate yourself and horse in doing so.
First, try not to imitate another’s style of performance. One thing I have learned from training for several years is not everyone’s style will work for you and your horse. You are both individuals and have strengths and weakness.
Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Start with looking at the things that you really like about your performance.
What is making you and horse a team? Is it that you finally found your timing or that your horse is really listening to cues? Put those thoughts to the side and do not change anything that would cause that to change.
IT'S TIME TO LOOK FOR SOMETHING THAT IS LACKING...
Evaluate yourself by taking a look at your body position. By doing this, think outside the box. Is there anything you can pick up on that would be getting in your horse’s way to perform at it’s very best? Look at your hand and feet placement along with your upper body and legs.
Once you evaluate yourself, then take a look at your horse’s movement. Their body position should be thought of in sections like ours.
1. Is the horse as supple as you would like in the bridle. Again look outside the obvious.
2. How are the shoulders working, are they moving correctly and balanced? You never want a horse to drop a shoulder so is the outside shoulder moving enough to prevent a dropped inside shoulder?
3. Depending on your discipline take a look at the horse’s ribs. Do you have the control you need for the hind end to be positioned correctly?
Breaking everything down will allow you to pick your performance apart and help you find areas to improve on.
One last idea to help improve your performance is having a fresh set of eyes evaluate you and your horse. It’s hard to hear constructive criticism, but keep an open mind. They just may see something you are not and change your whole outlook.
DON’T CHANGE WHAT IS WORKING, BUT CHALLENGE YOURSELF TO IMPROVE WITH EVERY PERFORMANCE.