We've had some more moisture here in Montana and I'm so thankful for that but it can put a cramp in my barrel racing training/schedule. As I was riding Elvis through my barrel patch yesterday to see what it looked like and just how wet it was, my first thought was that it'd be a long time before I got to work barrels in there. We're blessed with a mixture of nice gumbo with a hint of sand....perfect for barrel racing....well not really. However, we do make it work and with the drought we've had lately, it worked pretty good!
Riding along, I got to thinking of rodeo horses. My plans for Elvis this year is to be seasoning him at the local rodeos and although we have some nice ground in the area arenas, there are a few that my barrel patch would be the better place to run on any given day. So, while my barrel patch is not in the greatest of running conditions, I've decided that it shouldn't keep us out of the game. The best thing I can do for to prepare Elvis for rodeos is not to baby him and let him experience this 'not so great' ground while there is no money on the line so that when there is, he'll have a better idea how to handle himself and I also will know how to ride him through that ground.
We often times baby our horses when the practice ground isn't the best. Although I won't be asking my horses for their life on this ground, I will ask them to do our slow work so that when we hit that rodeo trail that they aren't afraid to go run and will have confidence that they can turn the barrels. They can learn how to stand up and know where their feet are and I can help give confidence in how I ride them as well as I'll prepare myself on how to help them in those situations.
So for that short while that I was down about not being about to work barrels, we've decided that the ground and weather isn't what is going to get in the way of our barrel racing aspirations. We'll do our best to prepare ourselves for this coming year with what's being dealt to us and make use of every learning opportunity!