It's not just knowing the pattern or taking it slow, it's the basics to know before even starting on the pattern. Can your horse side pass, leg yield, do a flying lead change, do a roll back? If not, start working up them. Barrel horses need to know how to use their bodies to bend around a barrel and away from your leg, they need to know how to set up to turn a barrel. In addition to walking and trotting the pattern, stopping at the barrels is crucially. It teaches the horse to set up to turn. Bending around the barrels with as little rein pressure as possiable, going off mostly leg pressure. With a gaited horse, your putting yourself behind anyway, their not sprinters like Quarter Horses, you need three perfect turns to be competitive. Perfect turns come before anything else, I don't care if the horse just started I will make him perform a turn as perfect as I can. Speed only comes when their ready and when they have three good turns down. And if they start messing up when we do speed up, their not ready and we slow back down.