August 9, 2021
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Barrel Racing Legend Martha Josey Shares What Makes a Great Barrel Horse

The recipe for success include a desire to win, a structured training program and excellent horse management with the BEMER Horse-Set

For over five decades, Martha Josey has been at the forefront of the barrel racing game as a rider, trainer, industry leader and mentor. The Josey stamp on the industry is undeniable. Martha and her husband R.E.’s legendary Josey Ranch in Marshall, Texas has produced some of the top names and horses in barrel racing. Their lifelong career and passion for rodeo has earned them the reputation of the go-to industry experts with students traveling in from all over North America to train and learn from their years of expertise. BEMER sat down with Martha to discuss what the recipe for a great barrel racing horse consists of and how riders can bring out the best in their up and coming performance horses.

Disposition, Determination and Desire

If only picking out your next horse were as easy as ordering off of a menu! While horse shopping can feel cumbersome, Martha shares her thoughts on the first three things she looks at when evaluating a new horse for a successful barrel racing career:

“There are a lot of important things that make a champion barrel horse. The top three things I look for are disposition, determination, and desire. A barrel horse must have a good mentality and disposition. When they are running into the alleyway, they get a rush of adrenaline. A good barrel horse can handle the pressure of running a barrel pattern at a quick speed while staying focused and listening to their rider. A great barrel horse also wants to win. They know what their job is and must have the determination and desire to run. Of all the horses that I took to the National Finals Rodeo in four decades of competing they all had disposition, determination, and desire.” – Martha Josey

Developing a Proper Training Routine

A horse is only as successful as his/her training program. Martha emphasizes the importance of physical fitness and preparing your horses for competition beyond just training the pattern.

“Training on the barrel pattern is very important, but so is keeping your horse in top shape. This takes lots of long trotting and loping. Long trotting is a great exercise for lengthening your horse’s stride. You want your horse to really be stretching out their stride, as fast as you can trot without transitioning into a lope. I also like to build up my horses’ lungs; loping large even circles is a great way to trim down on any excess fat they have on their stomach and build up their lungs. Lastly, I like to do lots of backing up and roll backs to strengthen the hind quarters. These exercises are especially important for a barrel horse. Their hind quarters are their motors. If their hind end is strong, they are going to be more powerful coming out of their turns. Just remember to build up to extensive exercise. Start slowly and progress into more difficult workouts.” – Martha Josey

Martha Josey Finds Comfort in Daily BEMER Therapy

One of the biggest components of any successful training program is your horse’s daily maintenance and recovery plan. Optimizing your horse’s performance starts way before you make your way down the in-gate. Ensuring that your horse is comfortable and in peak condition is step one to developing any great performance horse. 

“Recovery is important for any performance horse, but especially those on the road. When competing professionally, barrel horses are on the road for most of the year traveling from rodeo to rodeo. The first appealing thing about the BEMER Horse-Set to me was how user friendly the product was. Once it is charged it can be used with no cords, meaning it is easy to travel with and can be used at the trailer with no electricity. When you are at the rodeo, you want your horses to feel their best and compete in top condition every time. This is why I think that BEMER gives competitors such an advantage. My favorite feature of the BEMER Horse-Set are the Cuffs that can also be used for targeted applications. This is greatly beneficial for the pole on barrel horses, as well as hocks and other problem areas. I am thrilled to have my BEMER in the trailer to aid in recovery time, prevent soreness, help horses relax, regain their strength, and keep their stamina for their next race.” – Martha Josey*

Did You Know?

When resting, a horse’s heart rate averages around 30-40 beats per minute, but can grow up to 200-250 beats per minute when galloping! More beats per minute also equates to more blood pumping through your horse’s circulatory system. While resting, the equine heart pumps around 32 ounces of blood, but exercise can cause that volume of blood pumped to increase by almost 50%! This is just one of many reasons why supporting your horse’s circulatory system is so critical to optimizing health, performance and recovery. 

*The BEMER Horse Set does not replace treatment and care of an injury or disease by a veterinarian. A veterinarian should be consulted prior to use of the BEMER Horse Set for any medical condition.  Results may vary, and testimonials may not reflect the typical equine experience and are not intended to represent that every horse will achieve the same results. Martha Josey is a compensated spokesperson for BEMER.

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