But I'm Not THAT Barrel Racer...
Admiring someone else’s style doesn’t require you to completely copy them.
The other day Kailey, Blanche, and I were discussing this blog. I absolutely love reading their stories. Their descriptive and funny anecdotes and recollections just draw me in. I find myself chuckling as I scroll down the page. They’re awesome writers who have a knack for telling stories.
But as hard as I’ve tried to follow their lead, my voice, when attempting to emulate their style, falls flat.
I want to write like them, but that’s not where my strengths are. I don’t feel I connect when I fail to communicate the things I find important, in the way that comes most naturally to me. They’re great – but I don’t think I’ll ever be great in the exact way that they are.
It’s the same way when we look at riders and trainers. Have you noticed how Jolene Montgomery, Ryann Pedone, Kelsey Lutjen, and Lisa Lockhart look running barrels? They train amazing athletes – but do they ride the same? Train the same? Fix problems the same? Of course there are some recurring themes, but if you study each of them, they all have their own styles and approach.
She was ridiculed and made fun of, but obviously that has worked for her and a countless number of her students. She wasn’t afraid to be different and it resulted in 11 world championships and a career that spanned decades.I think that’s an important thing to remember. People can be different and still be great, even in the same sport. I remember hearing about Charmayne James’ riding style of carrying her hands higher than what was considered the norm.
I saw a debate on Facebook the other day regarding the use of tie-downs. I have used these training tools in the past, although I hadn’t put one on Cinco, ever. He’s extremely broke, but with the adrenaline coming down on him for a run, he’d throw his head high if I tried to hold him. I decided a loose tie-down would be the solution.
I don’t regret my decision as it’s fixed our issue, but when I saw this discussion my heart sank. There was so much negativity. People pointed out several top trainers who they’ve never seen use a tie down; obviously your horse wasn’t broke or ready to run barrels if you had to use one! Of course, there were several avid tie-down users who named other great riders who did utilize them. It seemed so many people only thought one way was correct.
This is just a small example, but it’s indicative of the big picture. We see what other people are doing to be successful, and we doubt ourselves. Am I less of a barrel racer because I don’t have that beautiful new saddle or a $400 tack set? My horse doesn’t sport the latest therapeutic blanket at the barrel race; does that mean I don’t care? Should I be riding more on my butt or sitting up straighter? Should I try 30 bits or stick with the one that’s working?
Learn what you’re good at as a trainer, and capitalize on that! Maybe you could be the next Charmayne, Lisa, or Jolene. Once you know your strengths you can work on your weaknesses with someone who excels in that area. Never be afraid to be uniquely you.
Until next time...
Savannah Magoteaux grew up in a rodeo family. Her mother, Cheryl Cody, is a former Professional Women’s Rodeo Association Barrel Racing Champion and has won more than $40,000 with her current mount Bet This Is A Shiner. Savannah’s father, Jeff Magoteaux, was an International Professional Rodeo Association World Champion Calf Roper.
After college at Oklahoma State University, Savannah worked for Pro Management, Inc., where she was the media and sponsor coordinator. Clients included the National Reining Breeders Classic, the National Reined Cow Horse Association, the Tulsa Reining Classic, Wide World of Horses, Rein In Cancer, and more. In her spare time she penned articles for Barrel Horse Newsand Quarter Horse News.
Currently, Savannah splits her time between her homes in Pilot Point, Texas, and Stratford, Oklahoma. She and her boyfriend Paul compete in team roping and enjoy golfing and cooking with friends. She makes the round trip between Texas and Oklahoma every weekend with her 10-year-old Corgi, Radar.
"What Do We Do Now?" is a blog series written by BHN's associate publisher Savannah Magoteaux, managing editor Kailey Sullins and associate editor Blanche Schaefer, where they discuss the struggles, joys, and rewards of training young barrel prospects as amateurs juggling full-time jobs, all from a real-life perspective. Read more at barrelhorsenews.comunder the "Blogs" tab.