Originally Posted by poundinghooves
I looked up "finishing a barrel horse" online and most people said finishing a barrel horse is just hauling it to shows. Is this true? I don't know if I have what it takes to finish him, especially since he hasn't been worked with much.
I won't be able to take him to many shows, but I'm not finding any horses I can afford that are finished in barrels.
I wouldn't expect to be able to do super well by then and of course, you can't really answer that without seeing the horse being ridden,
Any tips on finishing a horse on barrels?
Ah. Google has an answer for everything; including how to finish a barrel horse.
Because of the fact that many individuals have devoted their lives to learning how to train that winning top-notch barrel horse, "how to finish a barrel horse" is certainly not something we can accurately explain over the internet.
There are entire books and detailed DVDs sets on how to train a barrel horse. I suggest you try to get your hands on some. A few names to look for: Charmayne James, Sherry Cervi, Sharon Camarillo, Ed and Martha Wright, Martha Josey, Dena Kirkpatrick.
I think the main thing here though, is what level do you honestly and realistically expect to compete at this year? I'm not saying that ponies can't compete with the larger horses, but that's one disadvantage you have against you to start with.
Have you ever run barrels yourself? You didn't so say so it sounds like this would be a completely new thing to you. That's another disadvantage.
I don't want to be a debbie downer, but if you are out to run barrels for FUN, then everything should be fine. But if you do want to place or win once in a while, that might not be realistic this year (of course I haven't seen this pony run the barrels, so that's just a guess).
Horses are very smart and they do retain information well, but he HAS been sitting around for 4 years.
I agree with barrelhorselvr in that there are two different stages of finished a barrel horse. 1) Perfecting the pattern at the lope at home. 2) Hauling to shows to get them used to the show environment and running in it.
But you've got to start with the right basics. Your pony should be able to:
--walk, trot, and lope relaxed on a loose rein
--stop softly from any speed
--back easily when asked
--sidepass and two-track
--turn on the fore, and turn on the haunches
--direct rein and neck rein
--simple lead changes and flying lead changes
Basically, you want to be able to move any part of your horse's body (nose, neck, shoulders, ribcage, hindquarters) at any time and at any speed. A well-trained and well-broke horse!!!
Make sure you can do everything perfectly at the walk on the barrel pattern (because you will start here, since he hasn't been r idden in 4 years) before you progress to the trot. Perfect everything at the trot, before moving onto the lope.
If you go too fast too soon, you create bad habits with your horse that are very hard to fix.
Make sure to give them plenty of room around the barrel, although ponies are usually pretty good at taking things close. Never turn the barrel until your knee is past the barrel itself.
Never be afraid to slow things back down. If you feel you are starting to get sloppy in the pattern, bring the speed down and do it right.
So as I said, it maybe just depends what you REALLY want to accomplish this year. You might not be very competitive this first year. I don't know; I haven't seen the pony run. But it would be possible to be ready to at least be at a show in June, if you ride every day (not necessarily working on barrels every day) and get some practice in once in a while. You don't have to have a barrel to practice the fundamentals you need in a run.