Barrel Racing Tips?

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Barrel Racing Tips?

This is a discussion on Barrel Racing Tips? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • If a horse is leased what part of winnings does lessor get barrel race
  • Good things to do with barrel racing

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    05-13-2010, 05:06 AM
Arrow Barrel Racing Tips?

Okay, so I started myself (my horse already knew her stuff) on barrels about two years ago. Never did any competitions except once in 4H, but that's it. Just practicing in the pasture and with trash cans in the arena. Sadly I have to lease my horse out now, but I'm planning on practicing with her until then in hopes of getting really good and winning some big ones by the time I get her back... BARREL RACING IS ADDICTING!! (We started since showing was seriously putting us to sleep by boring the holy hell out of us! Lol.)

Here's what I do right now. About once or twice a month I practice barrels. Usually single or figure 8, since three barrels are hard to come by. We walk the pattern a few times then trot. Sometimes we stop there. Otherwise, we'll canter the pattern a maximum of 15 times. It's so freaking fun, that it's REALLY hard to stop, but I don't want my nice show/trail horse going barrel crazy, so I make myself stop there. At the last run, sometimes I push it and have her canter faster. Right now I'm just getting out of showing, so I'm not used to speed. We've hand galloped a few times when we had a big pasture to do it in. I'm booksmart and don't have much experience, but I think I've gotten down to the dime how to train a barrel horse. I'm just trying to work on myself, so...

Any tips? Tips on helping her quit cutting in too close would be GREAT and same with tips on improving your balance.
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    05-13-2010, 06:26 AM
Im trying to learn a bit more about barrel racing too.
Im in need of these tips also!!!!
    05-14-2010, 12:06 AM
For the turn, make sure you're using your inside leg to push her out while supporting her shoulder. Sit down in the turn and lean with the momentum. Sometimes people end up turning too soon and that's why the horse turns too tight. See where you think you should turn, and then go little farther. Lol
    05-14-2010, 12:36 AM
Haha see silly pants, people on here are AWESOMENESS!!!
    05-15-2010, 07:33 PM
If you can learn from books, and apply what you've learned, I would suggest picking up a couple. Barrel Racing: Completley Revised by Sharon Camarillo is a good one. Marlene McRae and Charmayne James have some out, too. I like getting books on these subjects, because they can give detailed exercises and diagrams. They also know WAAAAAYY more than I do.

You don't have to use actual barrels to practice. I used to use empty mineral tubs, cones, even just 5 gallon buckets. And if you want to keep her from ducking into the barrel, I would suggest putting a cone or something on the BACK side of the pocket. This gives you a visual tool, so you can keep your horse off the barrel until it's time to finish the turn.

Two of the biggest things for me to learn were keeping my inside shoulder up, and looking at the next barrel. If you drop your shoulder in the turn, your horse will too, and that can lead to falls. And when you get to the back side of the first or second barrel, you need to look at the next one, because that helps you (and your horse) finish the turn. When you get to the back side of the third, you need to look at the point you need to return to.
    05-16-2010, 12:15 AM
I practice my turns on a straight run...sounds goofy and im sure it looks like were crazy but my horse is a pretty seasoned barrel runner and if I don't keep him interested, were in trouble. I only practice at the canter...down the rail...pick out a point where you would like to turn and set your horse up and turn a full barrel (or just a point) and continue in the same direction. It has helped me with my balance and helped lessen his anticipation. Oh, and I never go full speed until were at the show. I will do one trial run if I can in the practice ring.
    05-16-2010, 01:17 AM
Originally Posted by corinowalk    
I practice my turns on a straight run...sounds goofy and im sure it looks like were crazy but my horse is a pretty seasoned barrel runner and if I don't keep him interested, were in trouble. I only practice at the canter...down the rail...pick out a point where you would like to turn and set your horse up and turn a full barrel (or just a point) and continue in the same direction. It has helped me with my balance and helped lessen his anticipation. Oh, and I never go full speed until were at the show. I will do one trial run if I can in the practice ring.

This is also a great exercise for horses that don't quite finish a turn.
    05-16-2010, 10:24 AM
Awesome ideas! I had no idea my shoulder had anything to do with it... I know my horse drops her shoulder a lot on regular circles (at walk/trot), but I've never noticed it in barrels. Maybe I'll pay attention next time and try to correct it? If she does, it could be my shoulder... Wouldn't be surprised if she didn't turning a barrel, though. She'll do the smoothest flying lead changes at the perfect time when she's doing barrels and never misses a beat, but she has the worst trouble with lead changes when I ask for them. Silly horse:/

I really like what Corinowalk said about practicing the turns without a barrel! That would really help, since I just KNOW anticipating turns is going to be a problem later on. One question I'd have for you, though, is about not running until a show... If I'm not used to speed, yet, how do I get used to it? I've heard only running barrels once a week MAX, but never just at a show... And even once a week isn't enough practice. Should I maybe just practice galloping in straight lines? I can run barrels pretty good now at the canter, but the higher speeds are a bit harder since all I've done is a bit of 4H showing and trail, so no really fast work.

RANDOM QUESTION: I've heard on my way home I need to basically kick/spank ALLLLL the way home and don't quit til her butt crosses the finish line. Is this seriously necessary? I mean, I don't care what anybody says, I'm NOT whipping or spurring my horse unless she needs it, but I'm wondering if that's a common thing or just some barrel racers. I've also heard just the opposite from other barrel racers, too. I mean, geez, this kinda bugs me, because I've always been taught the following:
Three steps of pressure- ask, tell, command. ALWAYS ask as gently as possible before you get rough. Always spanking/kicking before asking nicely is a good way to get one hell of a stubborn horse. You can tell a horse to stop, go and go faster, but you CANNOT tell a horse to keep going.
    05-16-2010, 01:26 PM
When I have a barrel horse in training, I sometimes do 3/4 runs, which means we run the pattern until we LEAVE the third barrel, and then lope back. But at home, we do more slow work that running, by far.

As far as running home goes, I usually use the over and under two or three times. Kicking a horse causes more vertical movement of the leg, while whipping causes extension. If you have one that wants to quit before the finish line, you might have to push a little more, but that's usually pilot error.
    05-16-2010, 02:18 PM
Great points afored! As far as the not going full speed at home...most of that has to do with habit. I don't want my horse to look at my ring at home as 'full speed' territory. I like to do lots of different things with him so I need him to focus on me, not on speed. I do practice a lot of walk to gallop transitions with him. He's got one hell of a burst though and it takes some practice to get used to. I can see why you would wanna work on speed at home! Nothin gets your heart going like looking at those barrels for the first real time.

As far as the 'run home' cue, my boy responds better to voice than to either kicking or cracking. When we turn that last barrel, I give him a lil 'hup hup' and he knows what that means. If I tried to kick or whip, he would probably pop right out of his skin!

Oh and in my experience, long slow gallops improve speed more than short bursts. If youve got a nice long stretch with decent footing (ie edge of a field, dirt road) start him galloping slow then ask for more then ask for less. That way its not just a general term "Run" its a "run fast" "run faster" " run slow"

Good luck! Gaming is totally addictive and you will always want more!
Let us know how you progress!

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