How Do I Slow Down My Barrel Horse? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:20 PM Thread Starter
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How Do I Slow Down My Barrel Horse?

My horse Legacy is a spaz. He never wants to go slow unless he is leading on a trail ride. Other than that he never wants to walk slow or lower his head. He keeps his head high so he trips over things. If I try to slow him down, he freaks out and walks faste. I've tried to have as little contact with his mouth as possible. That didnt work, he tries to speed up when i give him rein. Ive tried to keep pressure in his mouth to keep him slower and he ignores it and plows on ahead... I want to know how to make him slow down and lower his head. Please help me, this is a picture of him at a show!
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File Type: jpg Legacy 4.jpg (73.8 KB, 307 views)
File Type: jpg Legacy 2.jpg (87.7 KB, 262 views)

You can take my hat, and you can take my boots, but if you try to take my horse, I will beat you over the head with my saddle!
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post #2 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:25 PM
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Do you always ride him in a Tom Thumb?
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post #3 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:26 PM
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Well one thing I can say is he doesn't look all that happy with that bit, so maybe look into something that he likes better maybe a jr cow horse short shank with a smooth mouth and roller/life saver?
I have the same problem with my boy and all I can say is do lots of different patterns switch them up don't let him get ahead of you. Also do serpentine circles untill he will walk and eventually on a loose rein.
Also keep your body relaxed and don't tense up and fight him just be very consistent.

just a small town girl with a big town dream :]
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post #4 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:36 PM
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My ex barrel pony was the same way. I trail rode, ALOT. And I NEVER ran him at him. Only at shows. Eventually he learned that he didn't need to run all the time. Having a horse that you have to fight with all the time is no fun to ride.

How often do you run him?

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post #5 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:43 PM
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The tom thumb might be part of your problem..That is an awful bit. It sends mixed messages and in the wrong hands can cause some serious issues...I would also put a tie down on him when running. One of my barrel horses is the same on trails..She wants to be first the whole time and wants to trot everywhere..When ever she tries to trot or gets excited I get her attention quickly and sit her on her butt, then she gets to take about six steps back..More sitting and backing if she keeps pulling on me and trying to trot. If she keeps at it after the backing, whenever she tries to go into a trot she gets her head tucked to my knee and gets to go in about four circles THEN back up...Eventually she figures out that she's not going to be able to go forward unless it's at a walk. .It takes a LOT of time and patience but eventually pays off. I don't ever run my horses at home, for any reason. They know they are allowed to run at shows and that's the only time it's acceptable.
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post #6 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:46 PM
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Agreed with ClaPorte.

However, there could be several factors. Have you ruled out any pain? Sometimes horses will try and run from pain. I do not think this is your issue but you never know.

Next, keep him busy. Bring his mind back to you. My little mare will toss you if you don't have her mind first. Before you even walk onto the trail or the arena, flex him repetitively both directions. Walk him a little and keep him flexing and bending. Move his ribcage, shoulders, and hindquarters around a little. Keep him guessing on what you're going to ask instead of just going forward. And everytime he tries to rush you, don't get nervous. Just take up some contact, take a deep breath, and sit back. Ask again.

On that note, if the horse won't respond to that and he wants to go? MAKE him go. Work his little butt off everytime he tries. and I don't mean just running blindly. I move move his feet in a million differant directions so he has to think about it.

It's all going to come back to getting his mind and focus back on you. As far as I'm concerned, a horse that wants to act like that needs a job to make him focus.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #7 of 121 Old 02-11-2012, 08:51 PM
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I wouldn't run him if he wants to go..Like, SorrelHorse said, make him WORK but don't let him run...Make him back up, round out, flex and release, trot a little circles...

When he starts getting all jumpy make him associate it with work..

He's also probably holding his head up to get away from all of the pressure in his mouth..In the first picture you've got some serious force behind that and he just wants you out of his mouth, that's why it's open...In the second picture he has his head up because he's no associating his head up with no pressure from the bit..When a horse has their head high the least amount of control you have over the horse and the less contact you have with the bit.

It also looks like your saddle may be pinching on his withers...See how it's really tight in the front but the back is sticking up off of his back..This could be from an ill fitting saddle. Are you sure the saddle fits him?

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Last edited by DrumRunner; 02-11-2012 at 08:55 PM.
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post #8 of 121 Old 02-12-2012, 09:27 AM Thread Starter
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thank you all for your comments, whenever i try to put a tiedown on him he rears up to get away from it and i had the saddle fitter out and he said as long as i have a thick pad the saddle would be ok

You can take my hat, and you can take my boots, but if you try to take my horse, I will beat you over the head with my saddle!
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post #9 of 121 Old 02-12-2012, 10:05 AM
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I'm sorry, but having to make sure to have a thick pad to make a saddle fit means the saddle does not fit.

With the tiedown, was it adjusted correctly?

Also again, do you ride all the time in the Tom Thumb? If so, you really, really need to switch bits. Just going off of the two pictures, your horse does not like it at all. the first picture you have WAY to much pressure on that bit and he is doing his best to avoid it (mouth open). It looks like to you are trying to rip his jaw off (doubting you are, but with that bit combination/pressure you have on the reins/etc, it gives that appearance).
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post #10 of 121 Old 02-12-2012, 10:50 AM
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Putting a thicker saddle pad under a saddle that pinches is like slapping on a thick sock and shoving your foot down in a size too small shoe.

Have you horse fitted....get a chiro out....and have a lameness evaluation done then work on training issues....preferably with a trainer.

If you can't afford that save up.....before long you won't even have fun barrel racing. Been there.
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