The approach to the first barrel is a critical moment in executing a successful pattern; the rider must rate her horse's speed at the right moment to enter the correct path to make a perfect turn. The rider can decide whether to go to the left or the right barrel first. Each turn in barrel racing should be a relatively even half circle around the barrel. As the horse sets up to take the turn, the rider must be in position as well, which entails sitting deeply in the saddle, using one hand on the horn and the other hand to guide the horse through and around the barrel turn. The rider's legs will be held closely to the horse's sides; the leg to the inside of the turn should be held securely along the girth to support the horse's rib cage and give them a focal point for the turn. The athleticism required for this maneuvering comes from optimum physical fitness of the rider and especially the horse. Improper preparation for such a sport can cause injury to both horse and rider. Injury can be avoided by using the proper protection for both horse and rider.