Horse Scared of Barrels
 
 

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Horse Scared of Barrels

This is a discussion on Horse Scared of Barrels within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Why are horses afraid of barrels
  • Who to go to for a horse is terrified of barrels

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  • 1 Post By amberly
  • 2 Post By KylieHuitema
  • 2 Post By CLaPorte432

 
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    07-31-2013, 12:57 AM
  #1
Yearling
Horse Scared of Barrels

Let's rewind to last year, around the same time. Me and my horse were barrel racing, and he was brave. I could push him fast into the turns, with little resistance, and we'd do good. At one of the shows, a turn went terrible for whatever reason, and he slammed into a metal barrel. Now, where it used to be a little resistance, there is a lot of resistance going into turns. He used to slow down a tad going into the turns, but now, probably 5-10ft before the barrel he slows WAY down going into the turn. My best guess is that the metal barrel hurt him enough to scare him a bit from performing his best.
     
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    07-31-2013, 12:58 AM
  #2
Yearling
What can I do to make our turns better, and back up to there usual standard?
     
    07-31-2013, 11:03 AM
  #3
Weanling
I would go back a few steps, and do a lot of work on individual barrels, at a walk, then a trot. He (and subconsciously you) are probably a little scared. Do some circle work without expectations and speed to help build up his confidence. Just my thought.
     
    07-31-2013, 11:50 AM
  #4
Started
Knock over the barrels more often. The more often they knocked over - whether you knocked it or the horse - then he will get used to it.
But before going around the barrel at a walk, stop just before you turn, then continue walking around the barrel. At a trot, stop to a walk before going around the barrel. At a lope, stop to a trot before going around the barrel. This lets the horse know that he should not run past the barrels, but slow so he can make an easy tight turn around it.
barrelbeginner likes this.
     
    07-31-2013, 11:25 PM
  #5
Yearling
Tonight we went to barrel practice, and I would just walk and trot around the barrels in random patterns for warm up. When it came time to run, he was all of a sudden fine. There was still resistance, but much much less. My coach said he improved so much from last year with his turns, even though I have only ran him twice this year.
amberly and lilypoo like this.
     
    08-01-2013, 07:00 PM
  #6
Trained
Quote:
Originally Posted by amberly    
Knock over the barrels more often. The more often they knocked over - whether you knocked it or the horse - then he will get used to it.
But before going around the barrel at a walk, stop just before you turn, then continue walking around the barrel. At a trot, stop to a walk before going around the barrel. At a lope, stop to a trot before going around the barrel. This lets the horse know that he should not run past the barrels, but slow so he can make an easy tight turn around it.
No! No, no, no!

Never knock barrels over on purpose. That is a can of trouble you do NOT want to open. All your doing is teaching your horse to knock them during your pattern.

You need to go back to the basics. Stop running him and work on perfecting your pattern. Add speed later when he is comfortable with what he is doing.
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Fowl Play and Muppetgirl like this.
     
    08-02-2013, 01:23 AM
  #7
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    
No! No, no, no!

Never knock barrels over on purpose. That is a can of trouble you do NOT want to open. All your doing is teaching your horse to knock them during your pattern.

You need to go back to the basics. Stop running him and work on perfecting your pattern. Add speed later when he is comfortable with what he is doing.
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I honestly think when he ran that hard into the barrel, that it hurt him.
     
    08-03-2013, 09:09 PM
  #8
Trained
Do you have a video of him running the pattern? There may be underlying issues that are causing his imperfections in barrels.
     
    08-03-2013, 09:30 PM
  #9
Started
What I meant by having him knock over the barrel - is NOT running straight into it. I didn't even mean for HIM to knock over the barrels - it's just an example so you get the idea of what I was talking about.
HE isn't knocking over the barrels (and this is to help him get better at not being afraid when one knocks over, anyways.) You are only driving him close enough to where YOU can kick it and YOU can knock it over with your foot.

Sorry if I didn't explain that real good the first time.

But if the horse is having troubles and HE is getting close to the barrels on ACCIDENT, then that is a different story. If he is getting too close to the barrels, put a cone next to the barrel so you have this "pocket" of air to go around instead of huggin the barrel. Then as he gets good with that, take the cone away and maybe that will help him to stay away from the barrel a little more.

But the horse should not be afraid when a barrel gets knocked over - on purpose or not. Getting him used to the barrels and getting him away from the barrels are two completely different exercises.

EDIT: oh, and here is something that could be a reason for the horse running INTO the barrel:
My horse did this once and barely missed the barrel - it was kinda my fault too, as I was not paying attention to his leads. But my horse was on the wrong lead, so he was trying to go the way his lead was one while I was trying to have him go on the other side. But at the time I had no idea he was on the wrong lead - until my trainer helped me. But since we were both fighting for the "right" side he was going straight for the barrel. But he did a sharp turn to the direction I wanted and he missed the barrel - but make sure to watch his leads too.
     
    08-04-2013, 12:09 PM
  #10
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by KylieHuitema    
Let's rewind to last year, around the same time. Me and my horse were barrel racing, and he was brave. I could push him fast into the turns, with little resistance, and we'd do good. At one of the shows, a turn went terrible for whatever reason, and he slammed into a metal barrel. Now, where it used to be a little resistance, there is a lot of resistance going into turns. He used to slow down a tad going into the turns, but now, probably 5-10ft before the barrel he slows WAY down going into the turn. My best guess is that the metal barrel hurt him enough to scare him a bit from performing his best.
Horses usually knock barrels because
1) They are dropping their shoulder
2) Or the rider is turning them too soon.

Whenever a problem arises like this, it is best to go back to SLOW WORK and build the horse's confidence again.

A video would be very helpful to see if YOU are inadvertantly doing something wrong. Make sure you give him enough pocket in the turn, and make sure you keep his shoulder up, and make sure you do not ask him to turn until your knee is at or past the barrel.

It one thing to "sack out" your horse with a metal barrel from the ground, and it is completely another to have them tip over while you are riding him. I never think the second option is acceptable. I don't want my horses to know it is an option for that barrel to fall over (same with pole bending). From the ground you can bang on the metal barrel to make sound, tip it over toward your horse, roll it toward them, etc, to make sure they are fine with it from the ground, if that barrel becomes "scary" at any point.
     

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