Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
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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