How often to Practice - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 08:18 PM Thread Starter
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How often to Practice

Just curious as to what others do. How often do you practice barrel racing? How long each practice? What do else do you do with your horse to prepare or get in shape?
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post #2 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 08:23 PM
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With a horse in training for barrels, i usually do a half hour to 45 minute lesson on patterns 4 times a week. Slow work. Lots of collection and changing things up. I dont always do the typical barrel pattern. Sometimes i just break down and work on the 2nd barrel, or my approaches. Somedays i have the pattern set up and dont even work it. I like to keep it interesting and fresh for them.

I always end my sessions with a trail ride. Whether its 10 minutes or another 45. I find it relaxes the horse and keeps their brain from falling out of their head.

Once the horse knows the pattern and im adding speed. I practice less and less on the pattern. Eventually ill practice maybe once a month at home. But thats on a seasoned barrel horse that doesnt need much work.

If i have to step back and do rework, ill start working the horse with slow work on the pattern again until whatever kinks i have a worked out.

To condition them, i just ride them. I do lots of trail riding. But on my conditioning trail rides, theres lots of trotting and cantering. When the fields around me arent ripe with crop, i can do sprint work too. I usually do my conditioning in the snow during winter and them keep them in shape spring through fall with more arena work.
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Last edited by CLaPorte432; 08-13-2012 at 08:26 PM.
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post #3 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 08:24 PM
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I try to practice everyday. Or at least everyother day. Ill start at a walk, and go around the pattern. Then I walk around and just warm him up. Then I'll do the pattern at a trot, and walk around. Then ill run him and in between just walk and calm him down.

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post #4 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 08:36 PM Thread Starter
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Neat. Thanks for the replies. :)
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post #5 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 10:19 PM
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It really depends. I run a lot o small gymkhanas between actual barrel races so I do more drills and funky patterns than most people. My horse right now though is also a reining/eq horse so I spend a lot of time working on reminding her how to go slow in her "baby gaits" as my trainer calls them (i.e. jogs, slow lopes, the differance between a hand gallop and running the barrel pattern) as well as counter canter and lead changes/spins/rollbacks.

However, if I had a horse in training I would do slow work for about four or five days, maybe a trail ride of two thrown in, then when it comes time to add speed I will breeze them around the rail once or twice a week and lope the pattern or lope drills and start asking a little more.

I always use the beginning and end of the ride however as "chill out and go slow", and if the horse begins to get hot we go away from the pattern and get their mind coming back with some counter arc circles and reining pieces before returning.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #6 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 10:59 PM
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I rarely show my horses to the pattern. I think horses need more riding than they do showing o fthe pattern. If you show them the pattern too much, they will get sour very quickly.
Unless it's a horse in training, but I assume you don't have one of those.

Horses are smart, they know their pattern, don't work on the pattern unless you have some issues you need to work on.
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post #7 of 15 Old 08-13-2012, 11:31 PM
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My young horses get worked on the pattern at least 5 days a week for about 30 minutes. The finished horses go through the barrels about every other day and the speed depends. Some days I walk them through when cooling them out, or I may lope them through and circle the barrels a couple times to keep them shaped. It just depends on the day and I what I feel like doing. Or if I don't have a lot of races and am sorta in a slow time I may make a run every now and again to keep them aired up. They also do drills when they aren't doing the pattern such as spirals, 2 barrel drills, ect.

I like to keep my horses on the barrels so they know that when they see the pattern it doesn't always mean run run run. But that is just me.........

Conformation is how far the horse CAN go,
Mind is how far the horse WILL go,
Training is how far it DOES go.
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post #8 of 15 Old 08-14-2012, 12:41 AM
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i have seen a lot of high stung barrel horses that need to go out on trails! on my moms horse whos now 3 and a half... this past year i pretty much showed him the pattern at a show and he did really good. this year ive done it about 8 times at t/c at home and 4 times at a show and hes pretty good at it. hes the kind of horse that will go where you point him and doesnt need to be worked into the ground. but i do a lot of bareback with him 3 times a week 20-30 minutes of w/t and a little cantering. and i ride in the saddle a once or twice a week.

i trianed a horse 9 years ago and he turned out to be one of the best! he learned fast and never knocked ever! we did the pattern to get it down and once he had it we did it ever other week once but other then that we did lots of trails and down the road, jumping, derssage..

im starting my horse this fall and hes 5 and a half now :/ had to get training done as the lady before screwed it up. and right now we are trotting a lot ive done a few walking patterns and two trotting to get him use to it, but i do lots of circles and turns stopping and backing. getting him where he needs to be. i ride him from 5 to 45 minutes 5-6 times a week.
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post #9 of 15 Old 08-14-2012, 12:49 AM
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I find trails are not always the answer, Harley. The answer is teaching them to be calm and relaxed when they are actually on the pattern, otherwise they will always associate the pattern with running and the trails with going slow.
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Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #10 of 15 Old 08-14-2012, 01:02 AM
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When one is in training we work on it about every ride. But as they progress it keeps getting shortened, sometimes I'll just lope through a and if they do it right we walk back through so they know it's not all about running and quit at that. How long we work the pattern depends on how good they do. Do what I want then the first time we quite.

For a horse that has learned their job they just get rode to be kept in shape. Get ran through every once in awhile, maybe once a week maybe none that week, it just depends.

My horse is not a trail horse either, he's much happier in or near an arena. Trails and woods make him nervous, so no trail riding is not an answer to everything
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