If At First You Don’t Succeed…
Setting big goals means you might not achieve them on your first try, but it’s important to keep pushing out of your comfort zone and go for it again.
By McKenzie Morgan, age 16, originally published in the December 2018 issue of Barrel Horse News
Throughout my columns this year, I’ve written about traveling up and down the road and what it takes to keep your horses going during that time.
I also started a new chapter in the rodeo world and am trying to make the Southern Rodeo Finals. I was one hole out and $200 short of the finals. It was frustrating and discouraging knowing if I hadn’t hit barrels at a few rodeos, I’d be at the finals come November. We went home, regrouped and won the first rodeo of the season by three tenths.
There are going to be times you don’t reach the goals you set for yourself, and I know firsthand that’s one of the hardest things a barrel racer has to deal with. When you put all you’ve got into something and don’t get the outcome you hoped for it’s very discouraging, but you have to look at all the positives too. If we dwell on what we didn’t get or have, we seem to forget about everything we do have.
If you pick out five things that went wrong during your run, I want you to then pick out three things you’ve been working on that went right. You can’t always be hard on yourself or always think about what you should’ve done. I know how difficult it is not to beat yourself up—I’m very hard on myself. I only allow myself 10 minutes after a bad run to be mad or upset, because if it isn’t going to matter in 10 years, don’t spend more than 10 minutes being mad.
Now, let’s talk about going outside our comfort zone. We all seem to want to go where our horses run well or where we know we can win. If all you can think about is going to the National Finals Rodeo one day or winning a big barrel race, you have to step out of your comfort zone and venture off into arenas where your horse might not perform well.
You have to experience a lot of discouragement before you reach your goals, but that all goes back to my article in the August 2018 issue, “The Practice Pen is Your Best Friend.” Sometimes as riders, we want to stay on the horses we’re most comfortable riding instead of getting on the ones we know we probably aren’t going to win on. I’m very guilty of this, especially when it comes to rodeos. No one wants to step on a colt that has some issues and feel like you’re going to be embarrassed, but you have to take that plunge.
Colts and problem horses require a lot of time, sweat and tears, but you have to give them a moment to shine, too. Let all your hard work pay off instead of staying on the solid, finished horse you trust. Some of the best horses are hidden, because we don’t allow them to shine. If I hadn’t stuck it out with H2, he would probably still be out in a field somewhere.
Never be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone—do me a favor and next time, run the colt you’re afraid will embarrass you at the next barrel race. See you next month for “Behind the Scenes with McKenzie Morgan!”