Contributed by: Windy Griffith, Rebel Barrel Horses
If I had to choose the most important key to having a successful performance, it would be “timing”. Any equine event requires perfect timing with your horse. Each cue needs to be asked at the right time to execute a great performance. A lot of practice goes into perfecting your timing.
It seems simple enough but this is one thing that sets many riders apart. Timing is the ability to accurately use your body position, hands, feet and even know where to look to help cue your horse.
So, how do you perfect your timing?
From my experience, it requires three things…
You have to keep your focus and emotions under control. Do not let distractions interrupt what your job is. Your job as a rider is to cue your horse and be there to guide them through your event with proper timing. A top rider will have discipline so that nothing gets in their way while competing.
It takes dedicated practice to perfect your timing. A successful rider will practice their event over and over to find their timing with their equine partner. If you are not dedicated to your horse and your goals, it will be very difficult to find your timing. I tell riders that I work with that 99% is not 100%. It might be good enough but if you have big goals you need that absolute dedication of a 100%.
Having confidence that you and your horse know each other is so important. Trusting yourself that your timing will be correct to make a successful performance, is also part of having confidence. When you feel comfortable and practice is becoming easy your confidence builds for those competition performances.
If you are lacking in any of those three areas, you can expect less than a perfect performance. Getting your timing down doesn't happen over night. Do not get discouraged in the process of finding it. You have to be willing to work harder than your competitors and understand the importance of timing.
Every good competitor has been dedicated and disciplined enough to give 100% and create a partnership with their horse and build confidence in themselves to have perfect timing. So as you grow as a competitor, keep in mind how important your timing is so that you find yourself in the winner’s circle and living your dreams.
Windy Griffith is a Two Time Reserve World Champion Barrel Racer and Pole Bender. She is a Professional Trainer and Clinician with almost 20 years of experience.
Her mission is to help others reach their own goals in Competition and Horsemanship.
Learn more by following her at Rebel Barrel Horses on Facebook!