The Horse Forum > Riding Horses > Western Riding > Barrel Racing


This is a discussion on Curious within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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    03-20-2012, 07:24 PM

My horse dies out in barrels, because he has a bit of a lazy side in him. We run in the 19-20's, but I know he can go ALOT faster. I tried a over and under on him, its to much to think about on a run. I don't want to spur him through out the whole run either. I just got a quirt and I plan on trying it in between barrels and coming home, this Friday. Any other suggestions? In this video I did pull back at the first. It was my mistake I fixed it.

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    03-20-2012, 08:16 PM
Watch YOUR body position through the whole run.

You have your hand on the horn the entire time. You are sitting down in the saddle. You look like you are out for a trail ride.

If you have no enthusiasm in your body language for the barrel race, why would your horse?

Here's a few examples of how a barrel horse should be ridden.

I think Sherry Cervi is an amazing, quiet rider. Yet, watch how she is subtly hussling her horse Stingray. Her body position is forward, she's driving her with her legs, and she's hustling her on the way home.

Or Brittany Pozzi riding her horse Duke. Brittany is a small gal, and Duke is a big horse. But she's pushing him in-between each barrel.

And Lindsey Sears and Martha, who have a very unique "wrap around" turning style. But Lindsey is push, push, pushing her through the run.

I would not use a whip, or spurs, or over on and under on your horse. I would try to fix it with YOUR RIDING first.

Also, does your horse know how to run? It seems like a silly question, but have you ever just breezed him in a wide open field or track? And let him stretch out and RUN? I think it is very important that a horse learns how to run away from the barrel pattern, because they will figure it out sooner or later in the arena with fences.

How long has he been on the barrels? Sometimes it just takes time until the light bulb comes on.

Also, I would give him more room around the barrels in your pocket and turn. This will encourage him to keep his speed around the barrel. As you already know, you turned him way too tight and nearly stopped him on the first barrel. Go ahead and allow him to take it a little wider and keep speed. It is much easier to get a horse to tighten their turns with speed, than it is to get them off the barrel.

Get your hand OFF the horn in-between the barrels. Sit up out of your seat and drive him foward, and deep into the pocket.
    03-20-2012, 08:23 PM
He is a little on the plump side...may not be in the kind of shape he needs to be in to give you more speed.

Also, he is not liking something very much or he is hurting somewhere....he is swishing that tail a good bit.
    03-20-2012, 08:37 PM
I've only been competing in high school rodeo for five weeks now. He does know how to run, he used to be used for lessons for kids who wanted to learn playday events including barrels and poles. He's patterned in everything. He does know how to run, like I said he's just lazy. I've had this bad habit of keeping my hand on the horn. :/ I need to slap it or something. At practice I'll be sure to work on my body more! Thanks for the help!
    03-20-2012, 08:39 PM
Originally Posted by sierrams1123    
he is a little on the plump side...may not be in the kind of shape he needs to be in to give you more speed.

Also, he is not liking something very much or he is hurting somewhere....he is swishing that tail a good bit.

That's weird I didn't notice that it could have been his braid because he's fine now. Also he's actually not fat anymore he used to be he is just naturally big boned he's at the weight he's at his body mass he's supposed to be at.
    03-20-2012, 09:11 PM
I agree with both Beau and Sierra...
And he really looks like he hits hard on his front end which may be causing some pain. He looks stiff and sticky. You might consider having him evaluated by a vet and/or a chiro.
    03-20-2012, 09:18 PM
To me, he looks stiff on the turns and short in his strides on a straight run.
    03-20-2012, 09:34 PM
I am seeing the same things as cowchick and waresbear.
    03-20-2012, 10:59 PM
Green Broke
I see a beginner level rider and a sore horse... You need to let go of that horn, you are only supposed to hold it going through your turns. When you have already dropped that rein and are only using one hand you're telling him to check and rate which just slows you down and throws you both off.. Between the barrels and on the way out you should be using two hands and leaning forward in the saddle..He also looks very sore, he is working off of his front end which isn't good for a barrel horse at all. He doesn't want to reach out and extended his legs at all, especially his hind end. He is more hopping around with his hind end than actually engaging his muscles there..

I would have a vet and/or chiro come out and take a look at him..Are you sure all of your tack fits him properly? If your saddle doesn't fit him it could be pinching and hurting him. I also think that you need to go back to slow basics and work on your body placement and hand placement.. I posted a very good thread for barrel racers that you could benefit from checking out and getting a few ideas..

Barrel Racing Exercises and Drills.
    03-21-2012, 12:35 AM
I would not use anything to add speed to that horse until you know how to properly ride a barrel horse. (I hope that doesn't sound too harsh, it's not meant to be) But you really look like a beginner barrel racer and just like with starting a new horse on barrels, being training the right way, you need to train yourself the right way...then add speed.

-Your sitting up too straight in the saddle.
-You look tense in your turns, which in return is going to slow your horse up.
-You need to stay relaxed and calm, You look worried and almost scared of the barrel.
-You need to drive into your pockets and your pockets are far too small. When you start adding speed, if you don't fix your pocket, you'll knock everything down, I guarantee it.
-Your hands on the horn.
-Your popping out of the saddle in your turns, which is telling me that your not sitting your horse properly.
-DO NOT LOOK AT THE BARREL YOUR TURNING. When you look at the barrel, your body position shifts, your horse's shoulder drops, he doesn't turn smoothly, you have a bad turn or you hit the barrel. Always look to where you want to go, trust your horse to make the turn for you. If I'm turning the first soon as I hit the opening of my pocket, I'm whipping my head up and aroudn and I'm looking at the second. Same for the second barrel, as soon as I hit my pocket, I'm looking at my 3rd barrel.

In every turn I make, I relax and roll my hips/butt back into the saddle, my legs are loose...not tense, one had on the horn, the other on the rein to enforce my turn. Sometimes I don't even grab the horn, I rode for years without using the horn what-so-ever.
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