Barrel racing tips before I start?

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Barrel racing tips before I start?

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    03-17-2011, 02:07 PM
Green Broke
Barrel racing tips before I start?

Hey guys!! I'm looking to start barrel racing!

For those of you who don't know, I lease a quarter horse mare who is 23 but acts like she's 4 (if you don't believe me, you should've seen her yesterday when we were galloping!). Cheyenne's super fast and has done barrels and gymcanas lots of times.

I am a pretty advanced beginner I guess. I have competed in 3 horse shows and done pretty well. I've been riding Cheyenne for more than a year now. I've never done a gymcana but Cheyenne's owner wants me to start doing them, so I decided to start trying barrel racing. I was out there yesterday (and will probably be today) and tried them at a trot and canter. Cheyenne wanted to gallop around them but I had to hold her back because I wasn't ready for it yet. I did alright but my friend told me to keep my hands up and use more of my outside legs.

Do you have any tips about it before I really start? I'll post pictures eventually, but for now, what can you tell me?

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    03-17-2011, 05:27 PM
Green Broke
    03-17-2011, 05:46 PM
Work with your trainer and keep it at a walk until you know exactly how to maneuver yourself and Cheyenne around the barrels. Study up on plenty of books too. Marlene McRae is an excellent barrel racer as well as Martha Josey and Sharon Camarillo. See if you can find their books at a bookstore or on Amazon. You can find used books for pretty cheap there. Hope all goes well!
    03-17-2011, 06:42 PM
If Cheyenne has done it, then yu need to work on yourself mostly.

What I would suggest doing is loping up to the barrel, then brekaing down in gaits to a trot for the circle. You could start at the walk too, but I like doing trot/lope so long as you can do it fine.

When you go into the turn, you should sit back against the saddle and relax yourself. Keep the curve in Cheyenne's body and let her follow her nose around the barrel. You may have to grab the horn once you get more speed, but at the slow gaits you shouldn't have to.

After you can lope/trot the pattern, pick up a continuous lope and try it. Now here, ask for the horse to collect and get in the ground to turn by sitting back LOOK LOOK LOOK at the next barrel before you even come out of the turn. Then lean forward more on the flat stretches going into/out of the turn. Remember that sitting back is part of the turn signal to turn. Really give her head when you're on the flat.

I rarely ever set up the pattern though. I may set up three barrels in a straight line, four in a square, two on the diagonal, etc. However, when I do work on the pattern I do a lote of rate rate and RATE! Really make sure the hors eknows to collect and then drive out of the turn.

An random excersize I do a lot is lope (Not run) at the barrel and then use my inside rein/leg to pick up my horse and move them off the turn if they start diving in too sharp.

Also, on that note, I would practice loping twenty feet circles, then ten feet, then five feet, then ask for a barrel turn. If I have a horse that dives in, I do that excersize a lot. Of if they anticipate the turn I push them right past the barrel and keep doing it untilt hey relax.

Now, if your hrose gets antsy (Which I hate) I will throw a show to walk the patern calmly if I have to. Always take a break from running and just calmly walk around. If they get super chargy on the turn I stop and make them circle it until they relax, then walk them out of the turn.

Just a few tips that I use. I really, really loath antsy, stupid, bawking, chargy, run-right-through-your-hands barrel horses. I don't mind if they're hot and happy to do their job, but I don't want a jittery mess going into the alley.

Hope this helps. If you ahve any questions, let me know.
    03-17-2011, 08:05 PM
Your horn is very helpful for barrels. Once you get up into faster speeds, you can use it to push against so your butt stays down in the saddle and just IN the saddle around the turns.
    03-17-2011, 09:00 PM
Green Broke
Thanks guys!

SorrelHorse- thanks a lot! I wish I could have the computer with me so that I can read the instructions to myself when I'm riding

I'll post some picture later. I'm really curious to how I look when I'm trying it. I do that a lot- critique myself in pictures and videos.
    03-17-2011, 09:04 PM
Maybe copy and paste what SorrelHorse said into a document, then print it and bring that with?
    03-17-2011, 09:35 PM
Green Broke
Yeah I might do that thanks
    03-18-2011, 03:18 PM
Green Broke
Has anyone ever heard of the carrot stretch? It's where you are dissmounted and you have a few carrots or pony nuts or whatever and you show your horse that you have one and you bring the carrot to his side and then the horse stretches his neck towards the carrot and then when he stretches as far as he can go, you give him the carrot then do the other side. Then you repeat the action a couple times just so that he can stretch out a bit. Does anyone do that? I was watching videos of barrel racing on youtube and they were saying how your horse has to be flexible and has to have agility and stuff and the carrot stretch just popped into my mind. Has anyone tried it?
    03-18-2011, 03:29 PM
I've never heard of the carrot stretch. I flex my horse to get him supple and limber him a up a little bit which would be the same thing as doing the carrot stretch just using a different method. You pull his nose to his side and once he gives to the pressure you release it.

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