Originally Posted by barebackkindagal View Post
My horse is barrel/western pleasure, he hasn't ran an over a year, but I've only walked the pattern a handful of times. Where is a good place for both of us to start?
I agree with the others.
I realize that "get a trainer" is probably not the answer you were looking for, but let's think about this. You are a newbie when it comes to barrel racing, while you're horse has some experience. That's a huge mismatch between you and your horse; especially if you don't even know the barrel pattern. Think of how frustrating it would be for your horse and bad habits it could create if you would be doing the pattern wrong (just for example of one thing). There are so many aspects in barrel racing that most people don't know about, because from the outside it may just appear to be "kick n spur 'round 3 cans as fast as you can". Your hand position, seat, leg cues, body position, where your eyes are looking, getting him set up for the pocket, how to correct shouldering in/out, etc etc etc
Yes, there are lots of books and DVDs out there but for someone so inexperienced such as yourself, it really is so much better to have a live person teaching you right there. So either find a trainer in your area or else talk to people you trust to help you find one.
Think about this: I could read a book about how to build a house. But does that mean I would be able to go build a house on my own right after that? Nope! I would need lots of lots of hands-on experience by someone showing me what to do.
But a few bits of information to help you out....
The black lines with the arrows on this picture indicate how you go around the barrels. You make a right turn around the first barrel (on your right) and then you make two left turns around the other two barrels. This is the picture on the left side above and this is what most people do.
You can reverse this! Since some horses turn better to the right, and a good barrel racing will recognize that. So you may elect to do the pattern the other way. So you would make a left right around the first barrel (on your left), and then two right turns on the other two barrels. This is shown on the right side above.
So it would be key to find out which way your horse is used to running the pattern, either to the right or left first, because that will be more familiar to him.
You can get your hands on other resources in addition to getting a trainer. Some great books/DVDs out there are made by Charmayne James, Sharon Camarillo, Sherry Cervi, Martha Josey, and Ed and Martha Wright, just to name a few.
Good luck with him!