Soooo we all love this sport and what it has too offer but none of us are perfect at it and all struggle with, if not the exact same things. This sport is 90% mental and 10% skill in my opinion. A lot of the issues I cause myself are due to my mental ability to do it correctly rather than my physical skill in the pen.
1) Preparing for a run: I am sure I am not the only one who struggles with this. Sometimes it is difficult to focus on the little things that matter because we are so distracted with the big thing we want to accomplish in our run. For example, lately I have been so focused on getting my horse to run faster that all of the little things I need to be asking for goes out the window(aka one handed around the barrel). The best thing I have been reteaching myself is to visualize what I want my run to look like 3 times and focus on 3 things I want to accomplish out of it.
2) Getting distracted in the warm up pen: I think this is a big one for a lot of people I see at races too. For those who are taking it more serious you see them sitting alone focusing on what they want to accomplish and then there are others like myself who ride around with our friends waiting for our turn instead of focusing on our goals for our run. It can be hard to not want to talk with the people around us, but you only get about 17 seconds to show off all of your hard-work out there, so focusing for 15 minutes before hand is worth the time.
3) Setting a goal time and wanting to hit it: I used to do this ALOTTTT. It is hard not to want to come into the same pen and expect something faster. For me when I would run for a time as a goal I would ride worse and normally clock worse than my PR because I would ask for everything too soon, ride way more aggressive and ultimately confuse my horse. What gets you a faster time is focusing on three things you want to do well and that generally will get you a lot better time than just mentally giving yourself a time. When you give yourself a time, it can cause you to be upset if you had a pretty run but didn't hit that time that you were hoping for.
4) People who don't congratulate you but you congratulate them: Yeah this one is a tough pill to swallow. We expect that if you watch someone and cheer for them that they are going to do the exact same thing for you but sadly not everyone is that way. You will have people at races who support you and want to see you succeed and you will have people who are there for themselves and the attention. Choose wisely in who you invest your time in at races because it will save you a lot of heartache and frustration!
5) Nerves...never ending: From everything from being in a new arena, new horse, competition, people watching you, and good people in your drag. It is all apart of the sport. I always am somewhat nervous in thinking people are watching me ride and judging me but you can't think that way or your focus will be on that and not what you need to be telling your horse.
I love competing there are so many great qualities and people you meet along the way but with everything great comes struggle. These are just a few of the things that I struggle with continuously. If you identify what you struggle with, it makes it a lot easier to see what you need to work on.