Does anyone have good drills to help make better pockets going into the barrel? - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By gssw5
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 11:53 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2013
Posts: 2
• Horses: 0
Does anyone have good drills to help make better pockets going into the barrel?

Lately I have been having some difficulties with my pockets when going into a barrel. I feel like my horse is always throwing his shoulder into the barrels even though I try to hold him off. Just looking for some drills that I can use to practice at home to get him to back off them a little bit.
kjensen is offline  
Sponsored Links
post #2 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 01:06 PM
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Washington
Posts: 1,487
• Horses: 0
Running the patten with all lefts and all rights can help. For a horse than anticipates the turn I'll alternate turning the barrel, going past it, turning the opposite direction, circling it multiple times, ect.
Posted via Mobile Device
GamingGrrl is offline  
post #3 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 02:00 PM
Join Date: Jul 2013
Location: Florida
Posts: 1,231
• Horses: 7
Practice spiraling around the barrel keep going around the barrel moving into the barrel then back out, you will be getting control of his shoulders making him move in and out. A lot of horses anticipate the turn and start dropping their shoulder going in spiraling will help that. Also fake him out when he anticipates going around the barrel turn the other way. Don't think about barrel racing as just running a pattern think of it as guiding your horse where you want him to go. It should not matter which way you turn, which barrel you go to first the important thing is you have control of where your going. Like Gamingirl said above change it up, do all lefts, then all rights, go the third barrel first, teach your horse not to anticipate and to wait for you decide when and where to turn.
kjensen likes this.
gssw5 is offline  
post #4 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 02:40 PM
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 12
• Horses: 1
you can also try getting him soft to the indirect rein. so basically, pick up your left rein while at the walk with very little contact in your right and pick it up a few inches and lay it on the horses neck trying not to cross over the withers or neck at all. release when he takes one step no matter how small to the right. continue asking more and more until he can do clock starting at the walk youll be able to move him to the right at 1 oclock...his walk will slow and hell take another step towards two and three o clock, the back end will stop driving at around four o clock, completely cross over at 5 oclock, and take one step back at six o clock.

do this in both directions so that when you leave #1, you can head straight to #2, pick up that left rein which will guide him on a nice path towards his pocket while picking up the shoulder at the same will help tighten up that pocket and prevent the shoulder from falling in and knocking barrels
megstwoIDpal is offline  
post #5 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 03:51 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,796
• Horses: 3
Hello and welcome to the forum!

First of all, do you have a video you can show us?

Secondly, I'd advise you to check out the "sticky" on the forum that's got great drills and exercises for barrel racers of all levels.
Barrel Racing Exercises and Drills.

Now, onto your "problem". How exactly are you "holding him off" the barrel? I am going to make the assumption that you are making the very common mistake of trying to turn his head away from the barrel, to keep him from turning too soon. THAT is why he is shouldering into the barrel.

When you approach the barrel, a good rule of thumb is that you should head for a spot (some call it an axis point) that is 4 feet away from the barrel. From when you start the turn, until you finish, your horse's body needs to have bend in it. So as you approach the barrel, you should "lift" with your inside rein (making a motion to twist your wrist, and move it in the direction of your opposite shoulder) and ask your horse to tip their nose slightly inward. Use your outside leg, slightly back, to ask your horse to bring their hindquarter in and underneath themselves. This should cause your horse to wrap around your inside leg.

It should look like this:

Use your LEGS to control your horse during the turn. So if your horse wants to turn too soon, give them inside leg pressure to "hold" them. Still keep their nose tipped in, and still keep their hip in. But use your inside leg to laterally move them away from the barrel.

NEVER turn the horse's head away from the barrel to avoid turning too soon. This takes away the bend the horse needs to complete the turn. Therefore your horse is going to either 1) shoulder in and hit the barrel 2) run past the barrel and not turn at all.

Spirals are a great way to work on leg control with your horse. Use just one barrel and start loping a huge circle around it. Using only your LEGS, ask your horse to start to slowly decrease the circle size, and then slowly increase the circle size. Your horse will need to listen to you on which way to go. And make sure to keep his body properly bent the whole time.

You can also do reverse arc exercise to keep your horse anticipating. When you reach your pocket on the barrel, you are actually going to turn your horse AWAY from the barrel, but still keep the same bend in his body. So if you were going to make a right barrel turn, you are going to circle to the left, while keeping the horse's body bent around your right (inside) leg. Then when you come to the barrel again, after doing the reverse arc, your horse's body is in the proper position to turn the barrel. Again, use your LEGS; not the reins.

∞*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
beau159 is offline  
post #6 of 6 Old 10-11-2013, 03:58 PM
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: North Dakota
Posts: 5,796
• Horses: 3
Watch this video at the 0:45 sec mark. THAT is what you should not do. See how she pulls her horse's head away from the barrel first, the then jerks on him to make the turn on the backside? (You can see how she jerks on the backside of the turn on her first barrel at 0:40)

Never, try to tip their nose away, like this

∞*˚ Βгįťţαňγ ˚*∞
It is not enough to know how to ride; one must know how to fall.
beau159 is offline  

Quick Reply

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the The Horse Forum forums, you must first register.

Already have a Horse Forum account?
Members are allowed only one account per person at the Horse Forum, so if you've made an account here in the past you'll need to continue using that account. Please do not create a new account or you may lose access to the Horse Forum. If you need help recovering your existing account, please Contact Us. We'll be glad to help!

New to the Horse Forum?
Please choose a username you will be satisfied with using for the duration of your membership at the Horse Forum. We do not change members' usernames upon request because that would make it difficult for everyone to keep track of who is who on the forum. For that reason, please do not incorporate your horse's name into your username so that you are not stuck with a username related to a horse you may no longer have some day, or use any other username you may no longer identify with or care for in the future.

User Name:
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:


Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.

Old Thread Warning
This thread is more than 90 days old. When a thread is this old, it is often better to start a new thread rather than post to it. However, If you feel you have something of value to add to this particular thread, you can do so by checking the box below before submitting your post.

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Barrel Racing Exercises and Drills. DrumRunner Barrel Racing 85 04-09-2017 10:45 PM
do QH x arabs make good pole benders and barrel racers?? Tayla101 Horse Breeds 6 06-10-2012 12:24 PM
Good riding drills? Tennille Horse Training 0 03-22-2011 11:13 AM
Would my gelding make a good barrel horse? MangoRoX87 Barrel Racing 18 01-24-2011 12:27 PM
Can fat pockets make a horse lame? travlingypsy Horse Health 3 01-28-2010 07:20 PM

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome