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 don't 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 don't 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 that's 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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