Just wondering because I have noticed a lot of opinion controversy going on in my area about this topic.
The topic being, keeping your horse's head down and framed up when working the barrel pattern.
Now for me, I like to keep them framed up to a certain extent, but I'm not as firm about it as I would be if I was say doing a dressage or a reining pattern. However, I do NOT, under ANY circumstances, let Selena put her head up super high and hollow out her back. I want her rounded, ALL the time, so she can be ready to get down and turn when I ask her to.
Now the main arguments here that I have heard is that head up = butt down. Whil this is typically true, it does make the horse work all the wrong muscles, hollows out the back, and makes it a lot easier to get out of control. If they horse has their head in the air and they take off, it's going to take more work to stop them then if you had their chins ever so slightly down and were driving them under themselves and making them round up. The second argument I've heard is "They aren't a show pony, don't worry about how they look", and while I agree with this as well if the looks serve a purpose to the training then there is nothing wrong with it.
I will make Selena lope up to the barrel and round up in practice. Would I be slamming her face down? No. Would I ask her to drop her head and neck below her whithers? Noooo. But in practice, keeping them rounded (Heads included...taboo I know) is what is going to help them later on when you finally go for a run. They're already going to have those muscles and know how to turn without hollowing and like I said earlier it will make the control a bit easier if you have that option. So many barrel horses just...don't.
Just wondering your guy's standpoint on this. I actually got into an argument at the last race with another exhibitor about it so I thought I'd ask. Please provide reasoning.