first gymkhanna... any tips?

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first gymkhanna... any tips?

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  • I am nervous for my first barrel race

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    05-11-2011, 08:55 PM
Green Broke
first gymkhanna... any tips?

Hey guys!!
So I'm so exited yet so nervous for my first gymkhanna on Sunday (May 15th, 2011). Cheyenne is the crazy pony that I lease and although I really trust her, she's a maniac lol! She's 24 this year but she is insane!! And when I say that I lease a crazy 24 year old I don't mean she'll spook at things and she's kinda fast, I mean she's the oldest and one of the fastest horses at the barn and yeah. Please don't tell me not to race her because she's old.

Anyways, let me tell you a bit about her and me so that you can give me some tips :) So Cheyenne is a Quarter horse mare and she's almost 14.1hh. When you're on her it doesn't seem like you're on a little pony though, it feels like you're on a good sized horse because she uses very forward movements. She can go english and western and bareback (but I don't do bareback with her much because she has SUCH a boney back!!). I've taken her to 3 shows (and one more on Saturday) but she's been to many more than that. We've done pretty well at the shows, but we need to work on slowing her canter (which I've been working on) and collecting more.

So for the next gymkhanna there'll be 5 or 6 thingies (classes??) and they will be sorted into the age groups. (I'll post those later)

Now, Cheyenne is known at the barn for pacing anxiously around the starting gate till they let her out of the box thing. One of the people at the barn who've ridden her there told me to relax and try to keep her calm in there. When they open the gate Cheyenne speeds through it. She usually doesn't know what she's doing so all she'll do is run. I guess that's where I come in to show her what to do. So um...yeah.
So far my plan is this: reins in right hand, horn in left. Heels down, hang on tight. But I think I should probably think of something better then just that lol

So yeah any tips for me? I don't plan on winning anything, but any tips are appreciated!!

I'll post the classes (?) the next post :)

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    05-11-2011, 08:56 PM
Green Broke
Pattern is set 100 feet from the timing line. The pattern will
Consist of 6 poles set 6 feet wide and 12 feet long. 3 poles
On each side set 6 feet apart. The rider will ride through
The poles, turn around, and ride back through the poles,
And across the timing line.
Knock down of any poles, broken pattern, running off
Course or separation of rider and horse/pony during the
Timing period will disqualify contestant.

Poles are placed 105 feet apart. Course may be run starting
To the left or right of the pattern, following the line of travel
Indicated on the diagram.

The poles are placed 21 feet apart. The course may be run
Starting to the left or right of the pattern, following the line
Of travel indicated on the diagram.

A single pole is placed 105’ from the timer line. Rider
Will run across the timer line towards the pole, turn a complete
Circle around the pole and race back across timer line.

The contestant will run to barrel number 1, pass left of it,
And complete an approximately 360 degree turn around it;
Then go on to barrel number 2, pass to the right of it,
And complete a slightly more than 360 degree turn around
It; then go to barrel number 3, pass to the right of it,
And complete a slightly more than 360 degree turn around
It; then sprint to the finish line, passing between barrels
Number 1 and 2. Barrel pattern may be reversed for a left
Hand start.
    05-11-2011, 11:56 PM
Usually for me before I enter the ring I try to stay as calm as possible. My horse can always sense when I'm nervous which causes himself to be nervous. That for me causes a bad run. I stay calm and think positive. When I'm in the ring I don't go straight into the pattern. I circle once, get everything collect, mark my starting spot and go. Don't over think things. I used to always think that I can cut it as close as possible. So I try to get as close and I usually end up knocking a barrel over. Think that you can cut it close but don't over think it.. Also, Don't rely on the horn too much. Just use it to regain your balance back or when you really need to hold on. (like when you're running home) And make sure people don't underestimate you and your horse! Even though she's 24 years old doesn't mean she can't run fast! I had a 26 year old Palomino who ran barrels until the day she died, literally. Just go out those barrels and have fun!!
    05-12-2011, 12:53 AM
Novel, BEGIN! 8D

Staying calm is a very important part of Gymkhana. Gymkhana is all about consistency, keeping a cool head, and staying right up there where you can all the way through.

First off, I'm going to take you through the body position and setting Cheyenne up. I talked to you in another thread of yours, so I'm going to try and help you again.

Let's use good ol fashioned texas barrels for instance. You have to be able to get that turn and know exactly where you're at throughout the entire thing. ALWAYS look ahead of yourself. If Cheyenne has done this, YOU can do this. Trust her. From what I've heard, you can trust her to help fix you.

As you are approaching the first barrel, when you enter is going to be the widest part of the turn. Don't take it wider than you need, but it's better to go in wide and come out tight then go in tight and come out wide. It's also better to risk going wide verses going to tight and knocking over a barrel.

Remember, during the turn, you should have a hold of the horn. Keep the rein on her neck to keep her in the turn. Exaggerate if you have to. The barrel needs to be kept BEHIND your leg at all times. If the barrel is ever in front of your knee during the turn, you're in trouble. That's why people hit barrels. Do your best to keep Cheyenne in the right form and bend. Let her follow her nose all the way through the turn. If she goes too wide, use your outside leg to push her back over. If she turns too tight, pick her shoulder up with the reins and your legs and move her back over. It's better to lose one second adjusting your horse than lose five by hitting barrels.

Another thing I LOVE to stress: SIT THE HECK BACK. It will throw you off and throw your horse off if you're leaning forward from the barrel. Get your butt planted in that saddle. Brace against the horn if you have to. Then get RIGHT back up and lean forward as soon as you're out of that turn.

Now just for a second, go to the 2:33 marker in this vide and watch this girls run.

Not how she comes out of the turn a little wide on the first barrel. Now watch her second barrel. The reason she knocked it over is that she came out too wide on the first barrel and therefor wasn't set up right for the second barrel. She didn't go in wide enough and then cut too tight. In speed events, a chain reaction can occur VERY quickly. She was too close to the second barrel when she approached, therefor had to try and jump to the right then jump back into a left turn. That's not very condusive to keeping a barrel upright unless you wanna go twenty feet wide to reset yourself.

Really, the turning and running are the same for all the Gymkhana events. But still, I'd like to have a quick word about pole bending.

Pole bending is one of the most difficult timed events. I jsut have a few pet peeves that I like to go over with people when they are learning.

STAY CLOSE TO THE POLES. When you're running straight, you shouldn't be losing ANY time. Keep her straight and RIDE her all the way to the turn. Just like in every other event, the first turn is going to go in wider and be tight.

Always think one turn ahead of yourself. In pole bending, things come on fast. You make a mistake and its hard to correct yourself....But here's the easy fix: Don't make a mistake 8D Don't risk going at a higher speed for hitting a pole. Trot the poles it you have to. And remember when you're weaving, look at the tops of the poles and ahead of yourself. By the time you start a right turn you need to be pulling your hand up for the left turn that's coming next. Because if you are constantly thinking about the right turn you just made until you are finished with it, you are already ontop of your next pole.

I would say about halfway through the weave, you need to be snapping right up for the next one. By the time you react, you will be RIGHT in the perfect spot for the next weave. What I tell my younger counterparts is this: Count your strides. One stride, right hand. Another stride, left hand. Get in that rythym and just keep it up all the way through. Pole bending is all about a smooth weaving rythym, and its important to maintain that rythym until the final turn. As soon as that final turn comes, run like hell right back to the timers because THAT'S whats going to gain you back any lost seconds in the weaving. If you have a fast horse on the flat, USE IT.

Ride her in a STRAIGHT line as long as you can. The shortest distance is a striaght line, and the shortest distance is the fastest time.

Okay, breathe xD

Do you have any super specific questions? XDDD
    05-12-2011, 08:30 PM
Green Broke
Whoa lots of info there! Thanks!! I'll try to keep all this in mind.
I haven't done pole bending for a while, but last time I did it, I found that I liked going right around the pole and then running straight and then going right around the pole then straight. Kinda... That gave me time to set up for the next turn. Is that good? Like I wasn't too close to the pole that I was knocking it over, but like, it wasn't that I was turning in the middle of the poles. Is that kinda like, well, is it something that I should be doing or shouldn't?
Also, Cheyenne was never trained in like turning with one hand (me holding the reins with one hand). I taught her in September last year (her old rider had just used LOTS of leg with her for the shows before I rode her) and she's still a little rusty, but she's okay at it. So um... What should I do with that? I know she knows how to do the barrels and stuff once I show her what we're doing, I mean, she's done it many times and that was my main focus in April- barrel racing. But like... With the holding the horn thing, I was just going to see how it went and then work on it for next time but I could probably use some tips in case 'go with the flow' doesn't work out lol

Hope all that made sense, I am NOT good with describing things.
    05-13-2011, 12:03 AM
Okay, well xD

With the weaving in pole bending, just do it however you are comfortable. The way I do it, is use direct rein, neck rein, AND leg. I push them around the poles and pick up their shoulders using the reins. But however you perform best.

If Cheyenne will turn just off of leg, then go for it. I turn by laying the rein and adjust the horse use my legs wherever they need to be.

As for the horn, this is kind of a hit and miss. If you are super-duper confident in your seat, then you don't have to. I like to do it on super catty and turny horses because ****, they'll slingshot you right off. But if Cheyenne isn't acting like a slingshot when she turns, it's not that important.
    05-14-2011, 10:09 PM
Green Broke
So tomorrow is the gymkhana and I'm going to enter in the Novice devision. I'm going to take it as slow as I can. I doubt I'll go that slow, but I don't plan on speeding unless I'm going 'home'. Going 'home' is the easy part.

Donno if I'll really need the horn. She's bound to be at LEAST a little bit tired from the show today, and I've galloped her (not around barrels or anything, but I've galloped her) many times and never needed it.. I think I'll just be ready to grab it if it's needed.

Any last tips or comments before tomorrow? I'll probably be on in the morning to check.

    05-15-2011, 05:44 AM
The horn is not for the running. The running, you shouldn't have any problem. I don't know how "Turny" Cheyenne is, but like I said before if she turns really fast you may need it. I've been racing for my entire life and sometimes I get a horse where I still need to grab the horn once in awhile, because they turn right out from underneath you if you aren't careful.

I don't really think I have anything else to say without giving you a year's worth of lessons in the form of a Word Document lmao. Just good luck, and remember posture is going to help both of you keep the barrels/poles standing.

Oh, and have you worked Cheyenne through poles for the keyrace yet to practice? I think you said she's done gymkhana before so I can't imagine this being an issue with such a seasoned girl such as her, but keep in ind sometimes the horses don't like to run through the poles lol. Rebel did that to me the first time we ran key. Made it within one stride of entering the poles and he decided to pull a funny move and dart to the other side, haha.
    05-15-2011, 12:45 PM
Green Broke
Haha that would be bad lol! I think she'll be okay. :)
Well, gotta go get ready! See ya!!
    05-15-2011, 04:14 PM
Well good luck ^^ Tell us how it goes when you get back

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