My 3 year old I started 3 weeks ago on barrels is not turning and bracing against me when I cue her and it only on first barrel.
She has only been on the pattern 3 weeks
. That's a drop in a bucket. You should not
be doing anything more than a walk or slow trot, because she is not ready to be doing anything faster.
She's not turning because she's not patterned yet.
She not turning because you haven't trained her for it yet.
She's bracing against you because you are pushing her too fast too soon.
She's bracing because she's not patterned yet.
Do you see what I am getting at here? She needs to be broke, broke, broke to ride first
before you ever set her on a barrel pattern. You can learn the fundamentals for the barrels away from the pattern first, before you introduce it.
You are doing nothing but creating bad habits at this point, by pushing her too fast too soon.
She bends effortlessly both directions so I know it's not hurting her or stiffness, but even when I'm walking when I go to the first barrel she braces against me and I use leg,seat, ect. And have a pocket.
How do you know she is not hurting or stiff? Have you taken her to the vet? The chiro? The dentist? The farrier? Does your tack fit properly?
Horses have extremely high pain tolerances and often you don't even know they are hurting, until a trained professional catches it. And then you see the amazing difference afterward, because the horse truly was hurting somewhere.
Clearly if she is still bracing against you when you are using your leg and seat, that you have not taken the time to train her properly first
. (Remember when I said she has got to be broke, broke, broke first?) It's a fundamental to move away from pressure and give to your leg and body aides and if she can't do it on the barrel pattern, you have got to take the responsibility to actually train her to do it first.
She will be running some big futurity barrel races when she hits 4 . So she has to be on it.
No she doesn't.
You need to get her broke first. And be able to stop at any gait with a soft mouth, back up any distance, sidepass, turn on the fore or turn on the haunches, move at a relaxed pace at all gaits (walk, trot, canter), do flying lead changes, neck rein, rollbacks, etc. She needs to be BROKE.
The barrel pattern will be a breeze once she's broke because she has her fundamentals.
You can work on turns, circles, spirals, rollbacks, collection, rate etc away from the pattern. If you try to train her to ride while doing the pattern, you'll do nothing but sour her and make her resent it, because you'll be doing the pattern over and over and over.
I trained her when she turned to and I just started barrels on her and she is 3 3/4 now so she has had PLENTY of that work.
Clearly she has not had "plenty of that work" if you can't even get her to respond to your leg aides.
Train her first. Period.
Forget about the barrels for now. There's still lots of time for that.