Wednesday, February 16, 2011

NFR Dreams: Part 3

14.682. “Good, but I know you guys can go faster than that. Loosen up on the inside rein about four feet before your turn, remember to look at the wall, not the barrel. Oh, and make sure you start kicking as soon as you get out of that first, with two hands on the reins so you can get over right away to make that pocket. If you can remember all of that, you could probably take about 3 tenths off your time. Let’s try it again.” These are the all too familiar words of my trainer, Theresa Baumgartner. She’s worked with 12 time world champion, Martha Josey, she’s run at some of the biggest shows in the country, and is one of the most respected trainers in Iowa.

 Oh, and when she says 3 tenths, she means of a second. It doesn’t seem like much, but winning or losing comes down to hundredths, even thousandths of a second. I’m in her arena with my three barrel horses, training to perfect our form. She watches me for any little mistake, because any little mistake can determine whether we win, or we walk away with nothing. She watches where I put my horse for his turn, where my hands are, where I’m looking, how I sit, and all of my cues. There’s a lot to think about in 14 seconds: and that’s the heart of the sport: learning to be precise and on the top of your game.

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