This week for my independent learning project I learned that slow makes fast. In the rodeo world, as many know, the events are timed. Whoever can complete to event in the fastest time wins the prize. Barrel racing, team roping, calf roping, bull dogging, and more are all timed and it is a contest for everyone to do it in the fastest time.
My grandmother once told me that when you are making a barrel horse, slow makes fast. She is a very wise lady, and an amazing trainer. She has sent multiple horses with multiple girls to the National Finals Rodeo in her time of training barrels horses. Of course when I was a little girl I just threw my head back and laughed, because all I wanted to do was go fast.
I have not really told the story of Reno so i will give you guys a brief run down of his life, because it is needed to really understand why I am doing this slow makes fast blog. My fiance and I took a trip to Billings Montana to purchase a horse for his mom for Christmas. As we were walking through the alleys, I saw a starved beaten, bloody, and very sad gray horse standing in the corner of the pen. I figured it was a workers horse because surely they would not send a horse of that condition through the sale. I looked through the catalog and sure enough there he was. They were going to send that poor horse through the sale. I looked at his papers and realized he had phenomenal breeding, and I knew with his looks he would go cheap. We waited and waited as he was one of the last to sell, when they ran him in he went for $1300 and we bought him. Needless to say we did not come home with a Christmas gift, but a mangy starved horse for myself instead. We have owned him for almost two years now and have been offered upwards of $20,000 for him because of his performance and athletic ability.
I do not know why any one would treat an animal with the heart that Reno has the way that they did. I had to tell you this story because it is needed in order for me to explain our practicing experiences. Because Reno was so poorly treated and beaten he looses his
“cool” very easily. Everything makes him nervous. The announcer, other horses, new people walking by him, a new place, yelling, and clapping all make him jump out of his skin in fear. Because of this I have had to take him very slow. When we go to fast he gets out of control and runs in fear and ruins our runs. For a while he wanted to just run the barrels over and brace against my commands because he was so scared. Needless to say it has been a long road of repetition, confidence building, and lots of cookies :).
A year and a half later Reno and I are still taking things slow. I believe in this horse with all of my heart. I do not “rescue” horses from the kill pens because I believe it is a cycle of life. Reno is a different candidate. He has so much heart, so much athletic ability, and so much talent. No matter how long it takes, I know in the end he is going to come out on top.
Some of you are probably wondering where I am going with this so I will wrap it up. I spent my two hours of time for this project and more this week on practicing slow. On Saturday Reno and I went to a barrel race and entered. He worked phenomenal, and I now realize after purchasing Reno why my wonderful grandmother always said “slow makes fast,” because after all of this slow work Reno is going to be SO fast! Below I posted a video of our practice run this week. 🙂