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  • What bit to use for barrel horse lunging off barrels

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  • 4 Post By SorrelHorse

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    10-16-2011, 12:26 PM
Question Help

I got my horse about 5 months now and I have never had a stronger bond than I have with her. She is and amazing horse with a bit of an attitude. The people who had he before me let get get away with a lot! She is the fastest horse I have ever ridden. I really want to get her into barrel racing. She is 17 though and hasnt had any training for it. You think she can do it or should I not get my hopes up?
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    10-16-2011, 01:12 PM
It's awesome that you have such a great relationship with her! Bummer that her former owners let her get away with a lot, though. Just keep in mind two things:

1) Every interaction is a training session, and you should always "win". I'm not saying to abuse her or anything of course, but don't take no for an answer and make it more difficult to resist than to follow. If you present yourself as the leader, your horse will respect you and bond with you through herd dynamics. Ground work is a good way to reinforce this. If she has a lot of bad habits, it can be overwhelming trying to fix all of them at once but a respectful, trusting horse will be much easier to retrain than one who's stubborn and thinks they're boss!

2) Age matters little when it comes to the amount of work a horse can handle. It really depends on the individual, but I know of plenty of horses into their twenties who can run barrels just fine!

Just curious, what kinds of bad habits does she have?
    10-16-2011, 01:37 PM
Green Broke
Ditto to 2bigreds.

When a horse gets into their senior years like yours, it makes it even more important that they are on a consistent exercise program with proper nutritional supplementation for good health. So she needs to be in shape physically, before you try to start doing barrel work. Talk to your vet to see if adding any joint supplements or other nutritional supplements is necessary for your aged horse.

There's no reason you can't start her on the barrels at age 17. But you do need to keep your expectations realistic. I can take up to two full years to train a horse for barrels. And just because she is "fast" doesn't mean she's going to make a 1D barrel horse -- speed is only one factor.

But if you are just wanting to do it for fun, which sounds like it, there's no reason you can't. Just make sure you keep her in good health for her increasing age, as you should regardless.
    10-16-2011, 02:20 PM

She doesnt like to focus on me, when I ride her, her head is everywhere! She is very difficult to stop. She has a hard time with her left lead. The people who had her didnt focus on leads so she favors her right alot! She likes to try and run out of the gate to the barn sometimes too.
But the people who had her told me how horrible she was and how much they hated her, that she crow hopped and was crazy. The whole time I've had her she has only reared once. Nothing else. Just not very responsive.
    10-16-2011, 02:29 PM
Sounds like you need to have a complete back-to-basics case on your hands.

For the brakes: Whoa, sit, reins, BACK UP. A series of cues, very distinctive from one another, to give her a chance to e oft to your voice. You voice asks, your seat will reinforce, your reins tell, and then you back her rump up like you hate her. It only took about four rides of doing this for my anglo arab to start planting his butt whenever I said whoa.

For the head: Make sure she stays supple. Ask her to give to the bridle and put her chin down. If she doesn't know how to do that, start on the ground with a halter and start suppling her.

For the left lead: Ask her to pick it up by pushing her hip to the inside and picking up the left shoulder, looking where you want to go. If she picks it up wrong, stop her immediately and do a forehand turn to the left, then ask her again. By pushing her hip around you are reiterating which way she needs to go.

For the gate: Work her there and let her rest away from it. Work her butt off while she's standing there. And everytime you start walking to it, turn around and walk the other way everytime she hurries.
    10-16-2011, 04:28 PM
Good advice, Sorrel! The only thing I might add is that you can sometimes help teach a horse leads while lunging. If she picks up the wrong lead, stop her immediately and try again. Once she gets it right, let her go for a few strides, praise, and let her rest for a bit. Continue doing this and increase the number of strides each time she gets it right. Eventually she should start to understand and pick up her correct leads in either direction.

I know, it sounds a little weird, but while in the round pen she'll have less to concentrate on without you on her back. It should make the transition to picking up correct leads while riding a little easier. Sock has the same issue and I'll be using this method to help him out a bit.

Sorrel if you have any opinions on this I'd love to hear. I like a lot of the posts you make.
    10-16-2011, 04:51 PM
Green Broke
Complete ditto to Sorrel. Back to bacis would be a great idea, since it sounds like her previous owners let her get away with everything. Do NOT let her get away with anything. Always "win" every single lesson by holding your request steady and consistent until she gives you the correct response.

Here's a bit more in-depth on the leads.

It is often the easiest to teach leads from a large circle, because they often will naturally pick the correct one up anyway. So we'll talk about left leads, since that seems to be the problem.

Yes, you will want to pick up on the left shoulder, using the left inside rein, ever so slightly so that her head tips in to the left. You want to be able to see the profile of her left eye on her head, but no more than that (or you are picking up on her too much and she is bending too much). The outside right rein is just there for support.

You will keep your left lower leg OFF her completely (to "open" the door to the left). And cue her with your right heel to ask her to transition into the gallop.

Note that you should have already been traveling at the collected and easy trot in the circle. Don't ask for a gallop if you aren't centered and collected at the trot first. Eventually, you will be able to ask for a gallop from a standstill, but easy things first!!

This guys does a great job of explaining how leads work and how you cue for it. And it explains why you use the OUTSIDE leg to cue for a lead, and not the inside leg.

Therefore, since leads require your horse to be sensitive to your legs, of course you need to teach that FIRST before you try leads. Can you sidepass with her? If not, I would teach that first and get her listening to your legs before you try to do leads.

Here's a few good videos on that.
eXHorses's Channel - YouTube
eXHorses's Channel - YouTube

I like posting videos because I feel if you can SEE what we're talking about, it makes more sense when you try it.
    10-16-2011, 05:02 PM
I much like the video you posted, Beau. I've gotten some nice advice from him.

2bigreds, I like to roundpen work as well. I would try and use that excersize to build the muscle back up on the left side - When I first got Rebel, he had NO muscle for the right lead, and was very stiff on it. By gaining the hip control like I said earlier, and just doing a lot of right lead loping, we got it back.

I would probably be doing a combination of both - Maybe before you ride, saddle up and turn her in the roundpen on a lunge for a bit to work on this. During that time you could be working on getting her soft and listening to your vocal cues (Like "Whoa" ) and then flex her both ways before you get on her back.
    10-17-2011, 02:30 PM
Thank you all so much! I have learned a lot. Im going to go and all of this. I will let you know how it goes!

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