I am pretty much brand spanking new to barrel racing. I have done a handful of "fun shows" on mostly schooling horses, so it really doesn't count as barrel racing. I would like to become a little more serious about it.
About my horse: 9 y/o paint gelding who was originally trained to run barrels, but wasn't fast enough to be competive enough for original owners. Ended up being neglected, rescued by a therapuetic program. He didn't work out for the program because he was too tall and couldn't double as a lesson horse in the off season (he doesn't do well with multiple beginer riders) So I had the opportunity to purchase him and gladly did so. His conformation is not the greatest. Not even close. He is built down hill, and his legs are too under him. His canter/gallop is pretty rough, and I have found the best way to ride it is with an "english style" seat, forward and up.
My problem is when I get to barrels, I am obviously not sitting deep in the saddle, therefore I feel like I am throwing the both of us off balance. Can anyone recommend some excercises/tecniques to help me get deeper in the saddle, and for my horse to not be so rough? Is it a roundness issue? He also has a problem changing his leads, and breaks into a trot to do so. I have been around horses most of my live but would consider myself a novice when it comes to "training fixes." Most of what I do is on a trail, so leads obviously aren't that important (until now!! Gosh.)
Any constructive, experienced advice would be greatly appreciated. I'm not looking to go to national finals, but the ability to compete in some little local shows might be a fun thing for us to do, and about the level I would like to compete at.
I have attached a link to a video of us running (not really...) the pattern for the first time before the batteries died just as an idea of what I'm working with. I had a fall back in novemeber that I'm still mentally recovering from, but as the evening progressed I did actually run the pattern. I have also attached a couple of pictures, for an idea of how he moves, his level of collection ability, and my diving.
Thank you in advance!