Better turns around the barrels? - The Horse Forum

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post #1 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 12:57 PM Thread Starter
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Question Better turns around the barrels?

Hello,
I have a 10 year old Quarter Horse mare. I am teaching her the barrel pattern. Are there any exercises I can do with her to get her turning around the barrels better? She tends to cut close by the barrel then take a really wide turn before going to the next barrel. Thank you!
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post #2 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 01:47 PM
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Soo she is taking the barrel really wide coming in? So making a bigger pocket then needed correct? I have a gelding doing this right now and I plain on doing some drills this winter.

For him he wants to over exaggerate his pocket coming in so I am going to set up some old tires (can use cones or anything that can create a border) so he can make his pocket but not 40ft from the barrel. I also do a lot of spirals, and for him instead of starting big and coming smaller I go towards the barrel like I am approaching his 2nd and let him make a pocket (not huge) and spiral from their and it works good for him so he gets comfortable making a smaller pocket. I also use a lot of outside leg to hold him in, it is taking time but he is slowly figuring things out and realizing he doesn't need to over exaggerate like he thinks he needs to.

Do you have any videos by chance?

Let me know if that doesn't make sense and I can try and explain a little better.

Conformation is how far the horse CAN go,
Mind is how far the horse WILL go,
Training is how far it DOES go.
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post #3 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 02:20 PM Thread Starter
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She comes out really wide. She comes in really close, but then she has to do a really wide turn before we can go to the next barrel. Sorry, that sounds really confusing. I can try to get a video as soon as I can. I will do a lot more turns with her. Thank you!!!
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post #4 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 02:52 PM
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Does she do this at a trot? I would go back to trotting and really work over exaggerating the pocket going into the barrels and coming off close. You need to teach her to properly turn. A video would be nice. She may not be setting herself up to turn correctly as well.
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post #5 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 04:02 PM Thread Starter
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Yes, she does this at a trot. I won't go any faster until I get her turning around them correctly. I will try to get a video as soon as possible. Thank you!
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post #6 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 06:17 PM
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For the pocket coming in I would make a bigger pocket then you normally would but not TO big. I like to do the same thing with the tires coming in so she can't cut the pocket off but also focus on shaping her, keeping that shoulder lifted and pushing her out with your inside leg. But don't ove exaggerate your pocket to much or else that will cause some horses to want to make a big swoop like the the 2nd.

Also the reason she is coming out wide is because she is cutting off her pocket so is having to come off wide to finish the barrel. So work on getting her a bigger pocket and finishing the barrel and she should have a straighter approach to the next barrel.
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post #7 of 11 Old 12-31-2012, 06:24 PM
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Set her up to be at the correct pocket with your aids. If you're training her, Id assume you've run barrels before and know where the horse should come into the pocket.

What I normally do with mine is trot to the beginning of the pocket, stop and back about 3 steps (to reinforce the fact they need to be on their hind), and then walk around the barrel with the correct pocket all the way around. I come out of that barrel at a trot to the next and do the same thing. Once I can feel that they're consistently on their hind coming to the pocket, we don't stop but just go to a walk and continue like that. When I feel they're ready, we move to trotting the pattern. After trotting is flawless we move to cantering to and from while trotting around..And from there we move to canter and then add speed.
I've never had it fail, and Im currently using the same method in ST so that she should be ready to run the pattern come august for fair. She's been through up to the canter/trot patterns, so those will go by quick and Ill have time to move through the rest in those months.
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post #8 of 11 Old 01-02-2013, 10:18 AM
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It sounds like you are letting your horse turn too soon (cutting the barrel close), and then for your horse to avoid hitting the barrel, she has to make the end of her turn wide to get around it. Dont' let her turn too soon! YOu should be in control of her at all times using your legs, seat, and body , with the reins as your "last resort" cue. And never tip your horse's nose away from the barrel to avoid turning too soon. That just makes them shoulder-in to the barrel and you lose the natural arch in the horse's body to complete the turn properly. Instead, use your inside leg to push the horse over and awway from the barrel.

There was just an article about this in Barrel Horse News by Dena Kirkpatrick. Horses cannot see directly in front of them very well. But they can see your direct rein hand, your knee, and their own hip very well (one eye at a time). So if your horse cuts that barrel too close going into the turn, the horse can't see it, the horse panics,, and goes wide because she can't see the barrel. It has become an obstacle.

Rather, make sure you are going wide enough into your pocket, approximately 4 feet from the barrel (although this size will vary for each individual horse). You also don't want to go in too wide, though. And make sure you do not turn that barrel, until it is at least behind your knee.

Here's one of Dena's videos that talks about that.

She has lots of other videos on YouTube from her DVD series. I suggest you watch them.

And if you do have a video of yourself, that would greatly help us help you!
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post #9 of 11 Old 01-03-2013, 12:25 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, that was very helpful!!! I still haven't been able to get a video yet, sorry!
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post #10 of 11 Old 01-04-2013, 02:17 PM
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I've had the same problem with Duke. You come in really nice then he'd grab the bit and move out..

What my trainer told me to do was come in like we have been and as soon as he starts to move out, stop, get him into position and turn it again and again until he gets it. Then we just move out to the next one. Lots of circles with their nose to the inside and a nice bend helped a lot. And just flexing his nose and neck a lottttttt. (:

All leads up to the time they make, with every step that wild horse takes.. It's a gamble , she can handle, 'cause he's her leap of faith.'
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