Barrel race or just continue handling gates?? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 12:31 PM Thread Starter
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Location: Montana
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Barrel race or just continue handling gates??

I have been helping with gate for the riders for a while. I enjoy that too, but I am trying to decide.

Should I continue working the gates, and practice racing at home??
Should I race in next weeks race?? It's just for fun, but I am trying to decide.

I don't have any experience, and our boarder has barrels she can let us use. I have walked both my horses through the course, and I think the thing I would need to work on is getting around the barrels. They go straight pretty well and I can lope on both horses. Golley throws his head whenever I get him to a lope, but he still does it for me, it just throws me off a little bit.
Brisco throws his head and dances around a lot. Brisco is doing it to be scary and because he doesn't want to do it. Golley does it for the same reason.

I am thinking I will just handle the gates this first time, but maybe the second time I'll try a few courses. Probably just for time runs, because it has been a while since either of my horses are with any new horses. And because I am still working on keeping my lope up for more than a minute. On Brisco I would need to work on keeping his lope for more than two seconds.

But I am still not sure. What do you guys think??

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post #2 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 12:41 PM
Green Broke
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I would practice at home more. Lots of circles start big and slowly spiral down, just take your time there will always be another chance to race :).

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #3 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 05:22 PM
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I would work on things a lot more at home. If you are only WALKING the pattern at home, you can't possibly expect your horses to do anything faster than a walk at a show.

If you don't prepare your horses correctly, they get confused, and they get frustrated, because they don't know what is expected of them. But if you take the time to teach them the barrels at home, before exposing them to a show environment, they are going to be much more successful and have a much more enjoyable time.

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post #4 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 05:27 PM
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You can do a fun run at a trot if you really want just to get your horse used to the show scene.
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post #5 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 05:39 PM
Green Broke
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Personally, the head throwing needs fixed before you even think about trot/canter on the pattern.

With mine, all training issues are fixed before I even think about showing any of the patterns. When their training is up to par, then I slowly introduce patterns walk/trot (trot straight, walk turns with backing up). Once the patterns are solid and they rate at a full trot without me having to check them (a half halt), then we move to canter/trot patterns. When the horse rates again without needing a check, we then move to complete canter patterns. When all turns and rates are perfected, only then do I add speed.

When the horse is at the trot/canter stage I will start to take them to shows. And the time frame that takes is completely individual to the horse, some progress faster than others.

I don't tolerate head mare isn't even cantering in the arena yet because she throws her head in the air backing up and throws her nose out during turns at the trot. Until those are fixed, she will be restricted to cantering on the trail up the really steep hills (not enough muscle built up to walk some of them).

So, I think it's a bad idea to try and show this weekend. Your horse has holes in his training, and an unfamiliar atmosphere will only make those holes seem twice as big as they really are, IME. If you really want to take your horse, I would just be in the warm up ring working on fixing issues and leaving tied to the trailer while you work the gate.
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post #6 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 08:44 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Iseul View Post
Personally, the head throwing needs fixed before you even think about trot/canter on the pattern.
I am working on the head throwing. I give them something to do and they stop the head throwing most of the time. They are only doing that because they are trying to be scary so I won't do that. We both know better ;)
Golley's issue with the head throwing is his bridle. But we are getting him a new one ASAP too.

Thank you for the advice everyone!

Yea, my horses know the area, just not the horses - that is my main issue. but they are usually really good about that. Once I give them a job to do, they hardly even look at the other horses.

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post #7 of 17 Old 04-17-2013, 08:50 PM
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post #8 of 17 Old 04-18-2013, 01:11 AM
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Have their teeth been done/checked recently?
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post #9 of 17 Old 04-18-2013, 09:31 AM Thread Starter
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Yes, they have. It's OK. I do know the reason for them doing it too. -Other than the "I'm scarier than you so you should stop so I don't have to work" attitude. ;)

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post #10 of 17 Old 04-18-2013, 09:39 AM
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Well, everyone has GREAT points. I didn't see this thread until now. Barrel racing is not something to push, like that old saying "slow and steady wins the race" In the end that's true, to have a great barrel horse that will push and give you their all you HAVE to start slow. I can't say that enough. My boy is three and I'm trying my hardest to not do anything much with him. We've goofed around worked on circles, but I don't ever want him fried. We'll start some heavier work next year and work to barrels. Maybe fun shows this summer for experience but that's it!

At shows my horses could care less about others. Unless they get in their space, I've never had an issue with other horses, it's the riders and spectators that seem to get in the way more. When my old horse knew it was game time, he did NOT want to be touched and this other rider came over and hauled his bit up saying it was too low, not. He stood there, but I could feel him getting anxious. Did my best to keep him calm. Just keep your eyes peeled at shows, anything can happen, and any horse can spook.

Check out this sticky lots of useful information and exercises. Barrel Racing Exercises and Drills.

If your horse is steady and the head throwing is taken care of maybe get out to a few of the fun / open shows. They're for FUN, go goof around walk / trot / lope. Most don't go all out around here at fun shows. Just get him used to everything and see if it's something he wants to do and that you like to do!

It's addicting and so is the BLING.

"Every person you will meet will have at least one great quality. Duplicate it and leave the rest." --Clinton Anderson

Last edited by Annanoel; 04-18-2013 at 09:42 AM.
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