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Learning to Take Advice from Anywhere

Professional trainer and barrel racer Ivy Hurst says you can learn something from anywhere if you are open-minded and willing to accept advice.

Sometimes it’s Just That Simple

“Some of the best advice I’ve gotten in my life has come from the most unexpected source—somebody’s dad was sitting in the stands; had never been on a barrel horse. I was hitting the third barrel religiously on my good horse, and we got done and went out to dinner and he looked at me and said, “Can you not just look at a different spot? Would that change hitting that barrel?” I was like “Well, yeah!” I started looking at a different spot and started winning. Here’s this guy who coaches baseball and doesn’t know a whole lot about running barrels, but that was one of the most valuable things that helped me that day.”

Openly Accept Advice, No Matter Who It Comes From

“I see a lot of youth riders who are like, ‘Why would I listen to her, she hasn’t won anything,’ or ‘Her mom doesn’t know.’ But the most untrained eye is the most truthful eye. Sometimes you need to step back.”

Don’t Be Afraid to Take Advice and Adapt it to You

“When I learned to rope, I had one guy say to use a really big loop, and one guy said to use a small loop, and I was like well I don’t know what to use! So I went home and used a medium loop and won state three years in a row. I tried the big, tried the little, and then found what worked for me.”

Try It Before You Pass Judgment

“It’s real easy to be like, ‘Pssshhh, she doesn’t know, there’s nothing I can get from this.’ My advice isn’t always going to be THE answer. There’s lots of opinions in this sport, but be open-minded and go home and try some things, think outside the box. Be willing to listen. There’s some people who tell me things and I walk away like ‘Oh my god, what?!’ and then I actually try it and I’m like ‘Whoa, that actually worked.’ I rode with a girl a year or two and she was really big on using the inside foot more than the outside foot, and I’d never done that—I’d always push them through the turn. I got one horse that I was really struggling with, and one day I went out there and started pushing his butt around the barrel and lifting him up and doing what she said, and I’ll be darned—it worked wonders.”

Experiment at Home to Learn What Works

“The cool part about going home and riding is nobody’s around, so you get to try stuff without anyone looking at you or making fun of you. Trial and error is a huge part of this game. Yeah, sometimes you are going to get bad advice, but you just tuck it away. Looking at a different spot to the third barrel has literally changed my life, which sounds so greenhorn, and yes I know that and yes I tell people that, but I needed to hear it from that source and it hit me like a freight train, like wow duh I can do this!”

Learn more from Ivy Hurst here. Find additional training videos at

Originally published by Barrel Horse News.