Never Give Up August 2020

Never Give Up

By: Allison Kircher

  Heyyy all! This months shirt is from me Allison (most of you know me as A!)  The symbol above is a Tabano. A Tabano is the African symbol for strength, confidence, and persistence.

      Think about strength. I’m not talking about throwing a hay bale or carrying feed bags. I’m talking about the strength to keep trying. The strength to fail countless times and still try again. Any barrel racer knows you have to lose before you can win. This separates the girls from the strong women. It takes a lot of courage to run down that alley way. It takes a lot to trust your horse and to ride strong even when you are trembling in fear. It takes a lot of strength to get back on after being bucked off one too many times.

      Think about confidence. Confidence is putting your hands forward and trusting your training. Confidence is stepping back and realizing the horse you’ve worked so hard to train finally understands and finally knows his job. Confidence is pulling up to the barrel race with a positive attitude even though you have the smallest rig there. 

      Think about persistence. That one horse you just can’t seem to get a handle on.. but you ride them anyway. That big barrel race you run year after year and never do well.. but you run it anyway. Your trainer forcing you back on that annoying pony after falling off for the millionth time.  

      Most of these relate to me and my horse experience in some way and that is why I share them with you.

      If you know me you know my horse; Jag. He is an 11 year old AQHA dapple grey gelding. It’s safe to say that him and I as a team had a rough start. When I was 11 (three years ago) we leased him for three months. For the first month I just did groundwork, which went great! Then after that the riding began. He had just turned 8 and had a great foundation (which was very lucky for us) but had no experience as a barrel horse. With lots of lessons and help from my trainer I got him started on the pattern at a walk/trot. Until it came time to lope the pattern, my first time loping a pattern on him I picked up the lope and went into the first barrel. Soon enough I was on the ground. I had never seen him like this, he was/is the sweetest horse with such a good heart and he bucked like nothing I’d ever seen. A lot of road rash later I got back on with only the strength to trot the pattern again. A few days later, I tried again, same results, and again, same results. 3 buck-offs in 3 months.. not good odds. But for some reason at the end of those three months we bought him anyway, it seemed crazy but it worked out for the best. He went to a 30 day training as soon as we bought him- in hopes to save me some bruises and heartache, but the strangest thing, he didn’t buck off this trainer we sent him to. He was the sweet boy he was all the time. So as soon as he came back I was full of confidence. I loped him into the first barrel, blinked, and then there I was on the ground again. Not hurt physically, but mentally I was ready to give up. I thought I could never run this horse, this was a bad purchase, back to the lesson ponies for me. But my trainer threw me back up on him (despite my complaints I’m sure). And I finished the lesson for the day. He became the problem horse, all the advanced riders at our farm had to take a turn riding him, some got bucked off and some didn’t. But it still hurt my confidence to have to ride him. A while later, we bought a saddle, we were in it this deep so why not. A beautiful Martha Josey Circle Y. The goal was that the deep seat would maybe keep me in. The next time I tried to lope a pattern, I stayed on, it happened, it felt like a miracle, and we went from there. Finally all these years later we've realized that it was a saddle fit issue. This new saddle fit him, and the trainer we sent him to all those years ago had a similar saddle. After many turtle speed runs at races, timid exhibitions, hundreds of lessons, and so much work later; I can proudly say Jag has made 2D youth/3D open money at races and won almost 2000$ barrel racing. And though he will never take me to the NFR, I’m honored to be his jockey.

Never, never, never give up

  • Winston Churchill
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