Meet #TeamDiO Rachel D'Ellena
Let me start out by telling you all a little about myself.! My name is Rachel D’Ellena age 18 from the small state of Rhode Island. I am very excited to have been apart of #TeamDiO for just about a year now. I have been riding since before I could walk, and started doing barrel racing by the time I was 7 and got very competitive about four years ago. Coming from Rhode Island, it is not a very supported sport, and we always had to work a little extra and travel a little farther to get where we needed to go, but in the end it just helped me want to chase my goals even more! I own seven amazing horses that helped me accomplish the following in the last 2 and a half years.
- NBHA RI Open 1D, 2D champion
- Youth NBHA RI,CT,MA 1D, 2D Champion
- Rebel Soule Youth 2D champion
- Finals made in 2D on two horses at NBHA Nationals
- Won all 3 rounds of high school rodeo finals and the average
- Won 2 round of the 3 state championships 1D
- Youth 1D Champion
- Youth 2D Champion
IPRA/APRA Boston Rodeo Win
- Kenne NH Rodeo win
- Berlin CT Rodeo Win
- Won the Youth 1D at 10k added, many other Open and Youth 1D wins.
- *AMERICAN PRO RODEO ASSOCIATION Top 12 barrel racers, (6th)
- Qualified for the AFR (American Pro Rodeo Finals)
- *JR NFR QUALIFIER* 11th in the go at the finals! (Out of 5000 girls that tried out to go to Vegas)
I want to talk about something today that most of us struggle with, but not a lot of us talk about. Mental toughness, and confidence. I can shed quite a bit of light on how much fear and low confidence can paralyze and impact your performance. For years, I had severe confidence issues, and have always struggled with anxiety inside and out of the arena. My horse isn’t an easy one to deal with and she is one that you have to ride with confidence if you want to be successful in what you do, so I had to learn how to improve my mental toughness and confidence in order to break through the barrier I had to become more competitive.
There are various things that I did to try and work on my mental toughness at home and also at barrel races. I believe that anyone can do anything that they put their mind to if they work hard enough and if you do just that then you can improve! Start taking every opportunity that you are offered, start riding every horse that you can swing your leg over. The more horses that you ride, the stronger rider that you will become and also the more confident you will feel on your own barrel horses.
The hardest part in the mental toughness game is getting out of your own head, to stop worrying, stop thinking of worst case scenario, stop worrying about the people on the fence that are not happy for you, and to start riding your horse and focusing on your job in the arena. Instead of focusing on that, try to focus on how much work and effort you have put in with your horses getting them ready and you deserve the same fifteen seconds in the arena that everyone else does. Focus is a big part of the mental game. I remember driving over 3000 Vegas and wanting so badly to get caught up in the autograph signings, and bright lights of being a contestant there, but I had to keep myself focused and distanced from the excitement to remember that I was there to do a task and having fun was part of it, but after my horse was taken care of. This can apply at your local jackpot barrel race also, everyone likes to socialize but before your run take your time spending time with your horse, brushing and tacking, and warming up. Separate yourself from others while your standing waiting to run and focus on your game plan instead of chatting.
Be proud of your small successes. Our confidence gets built on small victories, and builds up over time. Be happy that you got into the arena today, or that you kept the barrels up, or that your colt won the 4D! I started on my little gray horse loping the barrels with tears in my eyes just a few years ago, but small victories and seeing myself climb from the bottom of the 4D, to the 3D in just a few runs made me want to have more little successes like those!
All of these tips for helping your mental toughness and your confidence are so much easier said than done, because believe me I have been there, but you can light a fire where you want to chase your dreams and break that fear barrier, just like I did!
I want to thank my sponsors who have stood behind me during my most intense rodeo season yet last year and everything that they have done for me!
DiO, every single one of my horses get DiO GEL or CONCENTRATE spray on them every day, and I never leave for a jackpot or rodeo without it! We put a lot of physical pressure on our horses and I am grateful for DiO to help them feeling good!
And a very special thank you for helping me with my mental toughness and keeping my horses feeling their best... Jerry Grudzien Equine Body Balancing