Training Tips

Is its worth it?
By Timi Lickley

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As I read Abby’s earlier article on Bad Runs, I found myself relating
on so many levels as I’m sure many of you did. We have ALL had them.
Some more than others. The saying goes, “If you haven’t had ________
happen to you, you haven’t been barrel racing long”. Well, I have been
barrel racing since I was a little girl, and I’m not exactly young anymore.
I certainly have had my fair share of bad runs, or things that I thought
were devastating happen in the arena. Sometimes, when I’m sitting
around with friends or family sharing re-ride stories, it eventually turns
to those embarrassing times. They are always good for a laugh! I’ve had
so many, that I’ve been asked why I even continue to do this.
That’s a good question, and one that I have asked myself many
times through the years. Seems to always pop up when something bad
happens, whether that be a string of bad runs, injuries, or the inevitable
loss of one of our valued equine partners. Why do I do this? Why do I
keep banging my head against the wall? Why do I do this through all
the blood, sweat, and tears? Oh there are so many answers to this!!
For a long time, I would quickly answer that it was for the
competition. I am extremely competitive! I love all aspects of
competition. I look forward to it and what it brings to my life. The
adrenaline rush of riding a fast horse and executing a great run is like
nothing else I have experienced. And of course winning is the reward,
right? Well, it is a pretty great thing, but throughout the years, I’ve
come to realize that isn’t all there is to this game.
Another answer might be the training of these animals we are
blessed to partner with. It is amazing to start a colt and take it through
all the steps necessary to become a barrel racing athlete. Oh the first
time you feel that snappy move on the backside of a barrel or the quick
gears leaving a turn, and you know you are sitting on something special,
makes me so excited!

Or what about dreaming about and planning your perfect barrel
racing horse and being there from conception to the end product? That
answer can be why so many of us do this. I get so excited looking at all
the stud prospects for my mares, waiting in anticipation for their due
dates, playing with the babies, watching them grow and develop into
the super stars I knew they could be all along.
You see, I think that’s the thing, there are so many reasons why
we continue to do this crazy sport. Even with all the hard times and
heart break, horses bring so much to our lives. They give us hope, they
let us dream, and they try so hard to give us what we ask of them. So I
guess what I am saying is – It is worth it!