Recently after being told by a good friend that her barrel horse trainer informed her that she would try blinders to keep my horses focus on the barrels and not the crowd... I thin decided to look this up on Google... seems to me that its very effective in a lot of ways so effective it must be carefully considered because it can also have a negative effect on the horse... tho I'm going to take my time with splash and see if we can work out our quirks ourselves I just wanted to start a thread here to see what everyone's opinion of this is. They make some pretty impressive points so please read before we post here!
I don't want anyone harassing the people who posted there opinions that I used and thought were good points so I didn't post the address of the thread.
These are not my opinions or words:
Ok guys, I had to get off yesterday after my posts to go home, but after checking back in on this post I wanted to add a couple of more comments.
1st, that photo of twin4sranch for me is a perfect example of use of blinkers. Also, if you have a horse shouldering a barrel or in another instance previoulsy mentioned of turning before the barrel, the blinkers could help out I believe. Barrel horses are just like racehorses - they can all have similar issues of not focusing, looking around too much, goofing off and not running, or some other bad habit such as the shouldering.
In other words, the blinkers are an aid to help the horse overcome any variety of problems. If a horse is shouldering the barrel, the blinkers can obsctruct the horse's vision just enough so when they are in the turn it allows you to have more control of lifting the horse's shoulder up in the turn and help the horse to wrap around the turn just as twin4sranch's horse is doing.
If the horse is ducking or turning the 1st barrel before getting to it the horse seems to be overly anticipating the turn, thus the blinkers will "narrow" his field of vision approaching the 1st barrel and allow the jockey to better guide him to the barrel and into the turn.
If the horse is getting distracted and looking around too much b/c they are green or running in a new arena, the blinkers with again help the horse to focus on his job. Also, if the horse is goofing off like mine was, again the blinkers made him focus and run harder and not watch me so much which he was doing. We schooled him by getting after him out of the roping box with a stick and that got his mind on his business. I then ran him about five times with the blinkers on before taking them off.
Shadow rolls are effective tools too - in Austraila they use them on the sides of the racing headstalls which is similar to the use of blinkers. I'm using a noseband shadow roll on my young horse to get him to try to lower his head and stride out more.
Anyway, I didn't mean to write a dissertation on the subject of the use of blinkers, it's just that I have found many of the tricks of the trade I learned at the racetrack can also be applied to barrel horses.
I had a friend whose mare would lose her focus at the rodeos and look up into the crowd. She had a set of blinkers made for her with the cups over the top of her eye, so they functioned like a visor. I asked her if it worked and she said it did.
The main purpose of blinkers on the track is to keep them from seeing the horses coming up behind them and/ or seeing the jockeys hands move.....I have used them on several horses for these reasons...my opinion they will only alleviate the focus your horse is placing on you since there are no other horses running behond you.....if you used a half to a full cup they would not be able to the see the barrels.....the cups can be cut down or ordered in many styles and sizes depending on the issue the horse is having. Alene Hickman use to run in pink ones in Arkansas...her and Sugar won a lot but Sugar would get to watching Alene's hands and hit barrels anticipating her command....
So whats your opinion on using blinders with a barrel horse.. there was post about using them for horses concentrating too much on the rides people ect witch was what he (Splash) does.