All we need is just a little Patience

In my head, when you read the title, you now have the same iconic Guns N Roses song in your head as I did when writing this.  You can hear Axle Rose whistling the intro and we all go to that place, that a nostalgic songs take us.

Some of you reading this aren’t old enough to identify with that song as “nostalgic” or maybe the hard rock of Guns N Roses isn’t your cup of tea.  You can listen to it on YouTube here if you don’t know what I’m talking about, or need a quick trip back to ’88.

The song chorus goes:

Said woman take it slow, and it’ll work itself out fine

All we need is just a little patience

Said sugar make it slow and we’ll come together fine

All we need is just a little patience (Patience)

For today’s post, I am going to highlight the lack of Patience in the turns of our barrel racing runs and the resulting environment where your horse is forced to ignore you. 

This post doesn’t include the lack of patience in training, conditioning, seasoning long before we send them down the alley on a barrel pattern but needs an honorable mention for you to think about, I will try to tackle those in future posts.

If you lack the patience to complete a task before going onto the next, the message you are sending your horse is to ignore you, because they can’t do what you are asking them to, you are forcing them to ignore you.  Please, let that sink in, you are forcing your horse to ignore you…..

Picture yourself – You have a list of tasks to do.  Each task should be completed in order before starting the next, to complete the sequence properly, quickly and efficiently.  You know how to do it because you have practiced it A LOT, your boss is relentless on practice.  Your time to shine comes but before you can finish the first task on the list, you get cut off by your boss and get told to do the 2nd task NOW.  You know you need to finish the first task to properly start the second, or you aren’t going to be able to do it properly, but the boss is telling you to DO IT NOW, so you oblige and everything starts to fall apart.  None of the rest of tasks are up to par and the boss is pissy.

The boss is also adamant that the 4th task was a mess, so now we need to go over it and practice that again, but what the instructor fails to recognize is, that if we were only allowed to complete the 1st task, it all would have worked well together.  The rest of the problems resulted from the first task being incomplete and it created a domino affect to the rest of them. 

As the rider, you are the boss and I can almost guarantee at some point or another in the barrel pattern right now, you are failing to complete a task ( line or circle ) without rushing into the next line or circle.

We rush with our hands, our feet, our body position and we do it with our head, eyes and intentions.  The problem is, we are blaming our horses for the resulting effects.

I watch it over and over with the interval timing, but where I am finally getting through to people is the overhead videos we are adding to the Intervaltiming events.  When we slow it down from the overhead view, it really highlights where we are lacking patience and the resulting effects.

People come in and start the 1st barrel turn too soon.  The horse is forced to go high on the turn or by the turn or they will hit the barrel.  They are going to step off the barrel or come out flat to save your ass and save the run. 

This causes a bad line to the 2nd barrel, which is going to have all the same problems of the first barrel now, because you were on a bad line to get there.  You might even be unlucky enough to knock it over, because you try to make a lateral move which takes away your momentum.

The problem in this situation is, everybody goes and schools their horse on the second barrel or the departure out of first, but that isn’t the problem. 

If you are having a problem with the second barrel there is a 95%+ chance it started long before you got within 5 feet of that 2nd barrel 45 gallon drum.

We talk about Cause and Effect a lot – it is a key to clocking and is part of our lessons, because recognizing what caused the knocked barrel or poor line is THE most important information know, to be able to fix it. 

The turn effects the circle which affects the resulting straight which affects the next turn.  It is like what came first, the chicken or the egg, but in barrel racing terms.

The strength and straightness of our lines in a barrel pattern is the direct result of the ability to a horse to maintain good posture and proper engagement and then complete the revolution of the turn properly.

To complete the revolution of a circle quickly and effectively you need the right size of circle for your horses stride length, the right speed to execute the size, continual forward motion, a horse that is travelling level and engaged, and the radius or center of the circle needs to line up with the horses vertical center of balance so that physics is giving you a push/pull effect instead of fighting you.  The line coming into the circle determines the revolution, so it all needs to work together.

This sounds really complicated but it isn’t – You just need to understand how your horses skeleton dictates 100% how it is built to work.

I recently did overhead videos with the intervals at a really nice 76 person jackpot and I re watched the whole race in slow motion and not a single rider had patience in all 3 of their turns.  Some started the turn too early, some tried to pull their horse over the top of the barrel because they were impatient to get out of it,  MOST RIDERS didn’t give their horse enough room and the list goes on.


Some riders made great corrections on their next line to counteract their lack of patience in the previous turn, but for most, the lack of patience showed up as a tipped next barrel, a step or bow off the backside of the next turn, a really inefficient, crooked line or a combination of some of these things together.

When visiting with people I always use Brittany Pozzi-Tonozzi as an example of someone who is so present in her runs, she can correct things on the fly.  If a circle of line is out of whack she, above all riders I have watched, seems to be able to salvage the run more times AND STILL SHUT OFF THE CLOCK, definitely more often than any other rider I have ever watched.

After reviewing the runs with knocked barrels at the 76 person jackpot very carefully, in slow motion, not a single horse shouldered the barrel.  They were ALL rider created knocks.  We need to recognize it IS a people problem.


The effect of the too tight/turn started too early is a dropped inside shoulder, disengaged outside hip and because of these 2 skeletal positions, the rib will be flat and down on the inside of the turn. 

The flat inside rib is the effect that is caused by the turn being too tight or started too early, not the other way around. 

I can show you thousands of runs with this exact sequence of events, but I watch riders trying to pick your horses “rib up” to correct the effect.  The rib is the end of the domino effect, it isn’t the cause, so schooling your horse or trying to fix that, isn’t going to help anything.

You need to train your eye to see the cause, not just the resulting effect in your runs and you need to start working on correcting the causes, or nothing will ever change in your run.

I am going to “throw down a gauntlet” here (if you don’t know what that means, you can read about the terminology here) and say that:


99% of the horses currently on the pattern aren’t built to be that close to a barrel and that is a statistical fact.


Our program will help you understand it all, if you join us.  If you understand how your horse is built to work the sky is the limit to achieving your goals.

Let us help you clock today –Join The PHA

This post is coming from one of THE most impatient human beings on the planet, so this is a self reminder to me as well, but awareness is always the first step to correcting an action.  I know just as much as anyone else, the patience struggle is real.

Originally published May 9, 2019 on the Take Time off the Clock Website