Mental Game in the Rodeo World

Every little girl has an idol in their life. In my case I have many idols, some are famous and some are not famous. The one I am going to talk about today is becoming famous, very quickly. I fell honored to have had the privilege of growing up very close to her and knowing her. Throughout this project I am going to talk about many of my so called idols, because they are the ones that are the perfect image of the rodeo athlete that I want to become and that I can learn from.

Today I am going to talk about Dr. Kathy Korell-Rach. I have grown up around Kathy and have watched her since I was a little girl. She has had many great horses that have taken her huge places in the rodeo world. Growing up she had two mares named Tilly and Shine. Today shine is one of the top barrel horses in the world. Kathy and her father own the stud to many of her great horses and his name is Smokin’ Sparks. He is also becoming one of the leading barrel horse studs in the rodeo industry. I could go on and on about her, and honestly complete an independent learning project on her because she is that amazing, but this project is on becoming a better rodeo athlete so I better get to it.

My research for this week is the mental game in the rodeo world. One thing that I struggle with that really affects my ability and my performance is mental game. I get so nervous before my runs I shake, I get nauseous, I can’t breath, and my vision gets blurry. This makes me not perform to the best of my ability, it is actually a snow ball effect, my confidence levels drop for my next runs and I begin to doubt myself.

Kathy is one of the best of the best when it comes to confidence and conquering her mental game. I have researched her articles.  Any smart competitor recognizes that they have certain strengths and weaknesses. Often, we devote a great deal of attention to our problem areas, particularly if we are experiencing a slump. Of course, we do this in order to get rid of the glitch that is keeping us away from the pay window. (Getting paid to win barrel races). Kathy writes in her article that if we are thinking “do not knock the barrel down” then we are literally thinking about actually knocking the barrel down. You automatically conjure up all of the things  you do that make you knock the barrel, including thoughts, emotions, and behaviors associated with downing it. Kathy includes a diagram of what happens when you let your mental game down in her article: achilles heel graphics web

Rather than focusing on the barrel, try focusing on all of the things you do to have a clean run. Take a look at the diagram again, and let’s replace “Don’t hit the barrel!” with “Have a clean run.” There is a lot of information in this article that is very helpful for me. I will attach the link to the article at the end of this blog in case you are interested in reading more. She has so many good points that I have learned about that I will take to the arena with me in order to help myself with my mental game. Below is a picture of Kathy and her horse Shine.

Photo credits to, I actually retrieved this photo from her online profile after asking her, but takes the photo credit for the photo.

Here is the link to her mental game article:



TED Talk (How to Make Stress Your Friend)

After viewing a few different TED talks from the lists given in module 3 I chose ” How To Make Stress Your Friend.”

This really caught my eye for many reasons. First off, I stress about things before there is anything to even stress about. (Yes, that is possible.) I have major panic and anxiety attacks almost daily from financial situations, school, wedding planning, house buying, and more. Seeing this title really made me want to watch it, in hopes that maybe I could help myself with my stress levels a little bit.

I had to share this photo because it is how I feel right now, and relates to this blog.

The site address for this photo is

This Ted talk was a very interesting 14 minutes long and spoken by Kelly Mcgonigal. She began the speech with a study. The study took a group of people over time and related it to death. One group of people were highly stressed and had the belief that stress was bad for their health. Another group was highly stressed and did not believe that stress was bad for their health. The other group was a lightly stressed group that believed stress was bad for their health. In the end it related who died to each different group. The people with even low stress that believed it was bad for their health had a much higher death rate than that of people with super high stress levels that did not believe stress is bad for their health. This shows that if you believe stress is bad for your health, then you are more prone to dying or creating a stress induced health problem, or disease.

Stress is the 15th leading death in the world today, killing more people than skin cancer.

After the study, she went on to talk about oxytocin. Even though oxytocin is said to be the happy hormone that carries compassion, care, empathy, and feel goods, it is also a stress hormone.

She ended the discussion with another study. The study was of people ranging from 34 years old to 96 years old. They studied the stress level of people, and the amount of time people spent caring for others and compared it to their death rate. People that care for others more and spend time doing good deeds tend to have a lower stress level along with a lower death risk.

If you turn your stress into positive you can better your health. That pounding heart and sweaty brow is not stress, that is courage. Your body is giving you courage to conquer that battle. If you can turn around and view stress as helpful, then biologically you will create courage for yourself. I really enjoyed this TED talk.  This will not only start to change the way I will try to handle my stress but it will also help me to have a positive atmosphere in my classroom.