The Rider’s Mind Podcast Episode 81: Change is Coming and You’re Invited

In this episode, I’m calling on all equestrians who recognize the benefits of becoming more aware of our actions in the saddle to join my movement towards conscious and intentional partnering with our horses. After getting to know people through the Rise of the Mindful Barrel Racer sessions, I know there are more people who want to be part of this. Change is coming and you’re welcome to come along for this ride.

I’m often not impressed by a lot of things that I see happen at barrel races. 

There are often horses who are being compromised, who are emotionally unhappy, who are not being treated fairly and who are being used as a tool for the game. I’ve also seen this at other events. 

Probably horses were being misused before divisional barrel racing became popular, but these 3D/4D races seem to have allowed many people who are underprepared or lacking support to come and compete. If we were all in one division, it could become expensive if you’re not winning. I wonder if that would encourage people to prepare more at home, to get a coach and to work on the fundamentals before showing up to compete. 

I want to be very clear: there are people who do not run in the 1D that are present and mindful and thoughtful about their horses. There are also people running 1D who are not present and mindful and aware of their horses. My point is that there are a lot of examples of poor horsemanship at barrel races. 

Riders show up to have fun at these races, but the horse doesn’t always get to have fun. A lot of people aren’t putting their horse first. The rider’s joy is coming before the horse’s happiness. We have to be keenly aware of when horses are enjoying themselves and when they’re not. 

We need a change. In order to be more aware of our horses, we need to be more self-aware. 

Gandhi said “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I’m doing my best to be the change and I’m working to start a movement. It started with The Rise of the Mindful Barrel Racer and this work continues inside Stride, my coaching group.. 

I’m still human. I’m probably going to make mistakes and I haven’t quite nailed it all myself. But I know we need to be keenly aware of what we bring to the partnership with our horses. 

Even if you just want to play, you can ride right for your horse. 

You can be kind and soft. You can have feel and respect your horse. You don’t need to kick and pull and yank. You can be smooth and fast. You can prepare. You can develop a strong connection with your horse. 

My inspiration is watching runs when I can see and feel the energy and connection between a horse and rider. 

When I was younger, my favourite duo was Rachelle Boyes and Chico. I get choked up just thinking about their runs now. They were so smooth and fast. It looked easy. I want to feel that with my horse and I want to provide that inspiration for other people. 

When you have this kind of connection with your horses, it’s like a spiritual connection that you can feel within. You know it’s something special between horse and rider. 

You can’t make that kind of thing happen, it’s more of an unraveling and allowing it to happen. It requires a certain type of vulnerability and it has nothing to do with toughness. It has to do with presence and peace and partnership and trust and love and connection. All of that shines through. 

These kinds of runs come when we’re “in the zone”. The zone is like a communion with spirit. Time slows down and everything is so clear and soft. 

I want more people to move away from the blood, sweat and tears and move towards conscious and intentional partnering with their horse. 

There is more to it than just going around three barrels. I want the days of kicking and pulling to be history. I want us to work in synergy with another living, breathing, big-hearted being. That’s where true partnership lies. 

The times when it was okay to use and abuse an animal are behind us. Whether you knew you were doing it at the time or not, it’s time to start doing better.

Now is the time to take responsibility for our part in the dance between horse and rider. Partnership is a two-way street. 

Now is the time to create our own synergy by creating the magic that supports those moments. It starts within. It means allowing relaxation and play and love. Relaxation starts within your body and transfers to the horse. 

Now is the time for conscious thoughts, for grounded energy, and for stepping into all that you really are. You know in your heart that this is where the magic starts. This is where the connection with your horse begins. 

This all comes from within and it starts with you. Your horse is ready and waiting for you. 

It’s time to connect, it’s time to respect, it’s time to rise up to the energy of the horse. 


Join the Conversation

Join the discussion in the The Rider’s Mind Community on Facebook. As a member of this community, you’ll also get tips and videos from me. 

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Learn with Me

Learn more about becoming a mindful barrel racer in my upcoming free training. Reserve your spot at: The series starts on February 12.

If you’re looking to make changes to your mindset, be sure to sign up for my free Next-Level Mindset Mini Course.

You can also join Stride, my next-level barrel racing group. This group receives video training and coaching from me and Stride members have access to special guests. We work on becoming mindful barrel racers so we can show up, be present and perform with great partnership.

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