Outside the arena

How to Love a Barrel Racer

I remember this meme floating around Facebook a few months ago
I know, I’m too late for a Valentine’s Day post, but I will say the holiday has me thinking about love. What is love, what does it look like? There is no denying that we barrel racers are a special breed; we tend to be an independent bunch with very specific priorities and goals. We often get compared to the “crazy cat lady” of the rodeo world and “barrel racer” is often synonymous to “crazy.” There is no denying that it takes a special person to love a barrel racer.
So how does one go about loving a barrel racer? What does love mean to us can chasers? I’ve asked a few of my fellow barrel racers. Although the answers all look different, they are saying the same thing; love is support and caring about the things that matter to us.
To me, love is when Shay videos my runs. I know he’d rather be watching the run, but he knows I’ll want to watch it later so he makes sure to video my run. Sometimes his video skills leave much to be desired, but he usually keeps me and my horse in the frame. There are times when his filming gets interrupted, the last time that happened I was glad he was watching when my horse fell at second and I was breathless, laying on the arena floor.
Love doesn’t stop at video-duty. Shay shows that he loves me when he watches me exercise and tune my horses at home. He brings another set of eyes to the arena. He is not afraid to tell me when I’m doing something wrong or to point out where I could improve my riding. He takes the time to care about the sport I am passionate about, and to me it shows that he loves who I am.
Love is not just run videos and arena dirt conversations, it is supporting us to better ourselves and push our boundaries. Whether that is a wintertime trip to Arizona, or entering events we only dreamed about, it doesn’t matter what it is, but it matters that our significant others believe in us and that they are one of the driving forces behind our successes.
Sometimes our significant others do not know anything about the sport of barrel racing. They might not know our run was crap, or that we are supposed to turn all three barrels in the arena. They try, they listen to our gibberish, try to understand the highs and lows that come with the sport. It is the fact that they listen and try to understand why we need this new $150 dollar bit, and this supplement and that particular brand of feed, and that they make no judgement on our particular brand of crazy.
It turns out, there are many ways to love a barrel racer, but I’ll outline the basic steps.
1. Video
2. Take an active interest, even when not at a jackpot or rodeo
3. Push your barrel racer to improve
4. Be there through knocked barrels and broken patterns as much as you are there to see the successes
5. Listen to your barrel racer, even when what we say makes absolutely no sense
 We might not be the typical chocolate hearts and flowers type of woman, but I’m sure we love the holiday anyway. We might ask for a new pair of reins or that new DVD to help us improve those turns on the backside. Either way, we deserved to be loved in our own unique way! It isn’t always easy to love a barrel racer, but don’t be afraid to try!

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