Gelding shouldering barrels

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Gelding shouldering barrels

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

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  • 1 Post By sierrams1123
  • 2 Post By 1RedHorse

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    02-03-2012, 03:02 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Gelding shouldering barrels

I know. You're sitting here going 'WHAAA? Endiku doesn't run barrels, why the heck is she here?' well don't worry! I haven't decided on a new way to injure myself, and am perfectly content with my mad trail riding and roping skills for now ;)

However, I do have a friend who is having a bit of a hard time with her 13 year old gelding, and I was hoping that some of you barrel racing machines could help us out a bit.

So here's the backround. This gelding, Teddy- has always been a notorious hot head when it comes to barrels. You know, typical crazy horse who's rider lets him get away with murder. Dancing, rearing, all of that fun. His rider asked me to help her out, and we spent quite a while teaching him that it was OKAY to walk around an arena like a gentleman, and it was even ok to just trot the barrels or stop right in the middle and go the other way if he was asked to! I'm sure he was very enlightened.

Fast forewards three months and I get another call from her, saying that Mr. Teddy is now having the complete opposite problem. He's running the barrels, but he's being careless and lazy. He's got the speed down alright, running a 18-19 second course (just local shows, y'know. No national champion here!) but he's just throwing himself into his turn, creating a very sloppy skid around the barrel and knocking his shoulder into them atleast half of the time.

Now, I can fix a horse who thinks he's in charge. But I honestly don't have any ideas when it comes to being lazy at the barrels.

My first thought, ofcourse, was that he might be in pain. So I talked her into getting him checked by a vet and chiropractor. He's 100% sound as far as they can tell. So that leads me to believe that she's right, and that he's just being lazy.

Now its your turn. What do you do for a lazy horse? Are there any exercises that they can do to get him back on his toes? I thought that he might just be getting bored, and so she's been doing a lot of trail riding, slow arena work, and pattern changing with him, but he's still just not motivated. Any help is appreciated, and thanks in advance!
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    02-03-2012, 03:56 PM
I'll bet it's not lazy - he is doing it on purpose.

Has she tried at a walk or trot? Does he drop his shoulder into them at that time?
    02-03-2012, 04:22 PM
Slow work, go back to walking then trotting for awhile. Get to the barrel and pick up his shoulder going around it, over exaggerate your pocket. Stuff like that. As for the laziness tell her to kiss to him while he's turning, let's them now to keep moving. Plus they seem to turn better when your clicking/kissing to them. Least try that and see if it helps, then if not could be a rider error.
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    02-03-2012, 05:36 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
Very possible, MLS. My question is why he would want to do that?

At a walk he doesn't swing into the barrels, but I don't know about at a trot. I'll have to ask his rider.
    02-03-2012, 06:09 PM
At a walk and trot the rider has more control, so go back to them and get it in his mind of what he's supposed to be doing.
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    02-08-2012, 02:04 AM
Originally Posted by mls    
I'll bet it's not lazy - he is doing it on purpose.
Agree, he is totally doing it on purpose.

Originally Posted by Endiku    
Very possible, MLS. My question is why he would want to do that?

I believe the reason is A.) he is cheating his turns by dropping into the barrel and pivoting on his back end and B.) because he was probably never trained how to correctly turn to begin with.

She should go back to square one with this horse, if it were me I would not continue this horses barrel career because he does not sound cut out for it. He is already hot and cheating barrels, at this point the damage is done. Unless she is willing to do what needs to be done, to correct him, he will only get worse.
If she decides to continue this horses training in barrels then she also needs to make sure she is teaching him the correct way. There are loads of threads on here already on the correct steps/training methods so I am not even going to bother going into that but have her watch videos of the pros and see how they do it. It would not even be a bad idea for her to reach out to some local barrel trainers for help, not only for the horse but for herself.
DrumRunner likes this.
    02-08-2012, 02:14 AM
Sometimes when a horse anticipates turning they will throw themselves around, shoulder barrels, etc. I would take him back to going slow, really get a lot of lift on his shoulder and do perfect circles at the walk/trot/lope and not do a huge amount of turning for awhile.

Also I would work a huge amount on shoulder control. Haunch turns and counter arc circles are great for this. Lope him up to a barrel, stop, counter arc away from it and lope to the next one. Do the same thing at every barrel. There are days with my mare when I will lope down the arena and counter arc her sideways. It gets to the point where she has started really respecting my leg. When I first got ahold of her after three years off she was such a tight turner she would try and cheat me. Needless to say for a few weeks all we did was shoulder excersizes and everytime she tried to shoulder I would break her down to a slower gait and push her away with my leg and really make her think about making perfect circles.
    02-08-2012, 01:59 PM
Counter arc every barrel....but KEEP HIM MOVING.

A riders posisition has alot of effect too. We can tell you how to fix the horse all day long but if she's doing something to encourage this habit itll be pointless. Video?
SorrelHorse and CLaPorte432 like this.
    02-08-2012, 09:26 PM
That's an excellent point, 1Red. I have this issue myself, I have to really concentrate on where I'm sititng because if I lean to the inside stirrup Bailey will still throw herself into the barrel and shoulder it. Keeping my weight on the outside has helped us a lot, perhaps that is a problem the horse's rider is having as well.
    02-10-2012, 08:04 PM
Teen Forum Moderator
I didn't realize anyone else had posted, sorry.

Thanks so much guys. I've relayed some of this information to her but I honestly don't feel like she has the riding experience (I'd put her a bit below my level, probably) to correct the gelding. I advised in either selling him or getting help from a pro. As I said, I know close to nothing about this sort of thing. I suppose its up to her now.

I did decide to take Teddy for a ride though, just to see if I could feel a problem that I could correct, and he seemed extremely stiff. Not a pain sort of stiff, but a lack of training to really use himself. So I worked him on serpentines and counter arcs for a good thirty minutes through all of his gaits. He seemed much looser and ready to turn properly after that, but I did notice that his rider tends to pull him out of his turn prematurely (I don't know if theres a word for that...) which could be confusing/knocking him.

All in all I think you guys are right. He just doesn't seem like the barrel type to me.

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