How do you get the horse to LOVE running?

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How do you get the horse to LOVE running?

This is a discussion on How do you get the horse to LOVE running? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • How to make a horse want to run
  • How to get your pony to go faster going back on barrels

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    05-27-2011, 01:51 AM
How do you get the horse to LOVE running?

How do you get the horse to LOOOOOVE running? Running barrels and just flat out running? JR Refuses to go fast, and it is so frustrating. ALSO, how do you get them to keep going fast around the barrel? JR will go fast until he gets to the barrel, then he goes to a walk/trot and won't go any faster until we get all the way around the barrel. Please help Western riders!! :) (nothing against english, just need help from the same kind of saddle user, they know how my saddle feels to me.)
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    05-27-2011, 02:37 AM
I don't think you can just get a horse to love running. I think a horse is born to love running. That's what I think anyway.
    05-27-2011, 03:13 AM
Green Broke
You don't. They either love it or they don't. I know some horses who absolutely love it, and I know horses who rarely want to run from the field to the barn during feed time.
But, I would completely forget about doing anything with barrels or the pattern for awhile. Just get him listening extremely well and work on mainly (but not just) leg cues, seat cues, rollbacks, and spins (not reining spins, but just a normal 360). Backing after stopping also helps a lot to make sure the horse is under himself and not hopping about on his front end (not sure if yours is or not). While I was working with Dude to get him ready for shows this season I didn't do anything with the barrel pattern. If he was going near barrels, they were only places as markers for serpentines. I trotted the pattern a week before the show I planned on taking him to, and if he's sound again and I decide to lease him, he won't touch the pattern until a week or so before the show.
Patience is one ofthe best things you can have with a barrel/gaming horse (and any horse). If you aren't patient, they usually end up as neurotic, dangerous demon spawns that only want to run or horses that don't want to go in the arena because they're sour and don't enjoy it.
If he's listening to you near perfect off the pattern at all speeds, he should do the exact same on the pattern. He obviously needs to slow down going around a barrel, and it depends on how comfortable, controlled, and collected he is that will determine how much he has to slow down. Dude needs to slow down to a fast trot or extremely slow lope, but Lucky keeps most of her speed, digs down around and takes right back off for the next barrel. Lucky's finished and this is Dude's second year, it just depends on the horse, if the horse enjoys it, and how responsive/collected the individual horse is.
Goodluck running barrels though.(: Super fun, lol.
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    05-27-2011, 06:39 PM
JR always has different opinions on running, one day he loves it, and the next day he hates it. I am trying to get faster times for my show coming up, so I don't have a ton of time. Would doing wider turns help him keep a little more speed on barrels? I mean he is SLOW around barrels, like sometimes he will even go to a slow walk and then stop. He doesn't take off from the barrel though unless we are running home. He tries to finish the pattern at a trot.
    05-27-2011, 07:16 PM
Green Broke
Don't rush it is all I can say. If you rush him and try to fix a problem too quickly, you very well may ruin a horse that could turn out to be perfect for you.
He may stay a little faster with wider turns, but you'll end up with similar times because of how much more distance he'll be travelling over if taking the barrels wide.
I suggest the next show or two you just trot him and not focus on trying to win or get better times. He sounds like he needs quite a bit more work, and rushing it isn't going to help him in the long run at all. You need to just work on making him listen and getting him to work off his hind end. Most horses I see that won't take a barrel faster than a trot are on the forehand and can't physically keep the speed without putting theirselves (and ultimately their riders) at risk while trying to dig around a barrel on the forehand. A barrel horse (just narrowing down for the point of the thread) needs to have his back end engaged, or he'll never make it. Any winning horse I've seen win at the shows have always been working off their back ends great.
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    05-27-2011, 07:53 PM
He does need to learn to use his back end. How do you go about doing that? :)
    05-27-2011, 08:00 PM
Green Broke
While I was training Dude for barrels (before he went lame ;; ) I would walk him, stop, and back immediately, and then do a rollback and repeat while changing the direction of spin and how far we backed. If he stopped on spot, he'd get 3-4 steps back and spin, of he didn't, he'd get 10-15 steps back and spin. It might not work on all horses, but the ones I've used it on have gone to use their back ends much more and only occasionally need a little reminder. It's also and amazing wayto get a good stop. :p
You'd do this at all speeds, graduating from walk, to trot, to lope, and to run; only moving up a gait after they had perfection on the gait I was working on.
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    05-28-2011, 01:51 PM
Oh cool. :)
    05-28-2011, 02:23 PM
Conditioning will help make running more enjoyable for him. But if he doesn't have the heart and desire to run or do barrels, it's not something you can create.
    05-28-2011, 02:26 PM
I don't know all the horse terms yet, what is conditioning??? :) Thanks

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