Do you Study the Arena Before your Run???
You will not see me make very many training type of posts, but here's one that's been on my mind since the Shootout... Years ago I worked for a trainer that taught me to study arena angles before every run. She also taught me that if you have to rely on riding in open arena to know your "spots" you won't make it at rodeos. I used to watch her sit on the fence and study these arenas, where people were making mistakes, and where they could make up time. The OKC fairgrounds is a hard pen for so many people, because they don't study it.
One thing I learned in 12 years of having a booth there is that as a massage therapist... You will see some monster wrecks in this pen. People don't realize it's a downhill run to the first barrel (especially if you come hauling Cha Cha from the warm up pen 🤦) so you need to really dial in on where you set your pocket for the first.
You see so many horses hit those bright lights and zero in on the barrel, either cutting the pocket off and running to (or down) the wall or bowing off the first and ducking or plowing the second. In my experience when you have a wide alley that dumps you out into the pattern, you have to keep your horse moving up the pen to you spot where you'd normally pick your turn... I'm not here to argue training or pattern methods, I sometimes think horses that get injured during a run can have to do with being out of position for the turn. You're already out of sync so a wrong step or shifty ground can mean not being able to recover. Getting outside the tracks tends to result in slipping, over-reaching, and soft tissue injuries...
You can't prevent every accident or injury, but being aware of your surroundings as a rider will go a long way to help. Which turn was most like your shootout this year? I promise if you've run enough horses, at one point you've been all three of these... 🙋♀️ I know I have!
❓ HOW DO YOU PREPARE FOR YOUR RUN?
(I'd also like to add that I am not an artist and drawing on a phone is really hard! But you get the idea!)