Haha that's okay. I just really need to start putting more miles on my 3 year olds. They are waaaay behind of where I wanted them to be. The one is a younger version of Selena by the way lol. Like exactly. Except she has a star instead of that stripe.
So I am NOT much of a barrel racer myself, just reading this thread to listen to all the good advice but I am pretty good at getting a horse nice and soft.
First, Side riens are a great idea! I start any new horse I work with in them. It builds strength in thier backs and teaches them to relax into gentle contact.
Second I notice you ride pretty far forward and with your hands a bit high. I think you may be standing in your stirrups some and pulling back to ask your horse to soften... I catch myself from time to time doing this too and have to remind myself to relax.
My advice would be do a whole ride focused on circles (obviously not every day or you will bore her out of her mind!). But try to ride at a trot each direction for 15 minutes in a twenty meter circle. Spread your hands out and low - down toward your knees - and sponge your fingers (play with her month a little but gently). Also sit back and a bit deeper than you would when riding barrels (maybe even try not using stirrups). 15 minutes is a while but since she is learning it will take a little bit for her to catch on, once she relaxes, drops her nose and keeps a stady tempo for three or four circles call it a day (or switch directions If you haven't). At first she might toss her head or speed up or Try To change the size of the circle. Don't get mad, don't pull just keep sittimg deep and keeping those hands low and soft till you get relaxation. Horses seem to focus when they are on a continouse circle and relax more so than riding stright lines. Eventually she will learn to carry herself on the circle and you can bring your hands back toward her withers. Then you can work on asking for collection on a straight line and put it all together! Remember, real softness and collection is achieved through a horses back and not just having thier head pulled down.
Hope that might help ya have an idea for a training day. I use this excersice to build balance in young horses or when older ones get a little hot and it really helps, especially with a horse who is tense on the bit. I think I may also have repeated a lot of what these guys have already said. Your horse it's just adorable btw, I've read a few threads about your work with her and think you guys are an awesome pair! Posted via Mobile Device
I ended up using her to get some longhorns in to ship out to pasture and while having a disaster with them up at the corrals and having to cut a couple runaways off on the fence, we realized something.
When I took off to cut those cows off, Squiggy stretched out and ran flat with her head low and was WORKING. I thought I was going to have brake problems, but we rolled back on the fence from a flat out run nice! Anywho.
I've never ran her full out and made her stretch out. She's had to run, but never got to flat out (I never let her...).
So. Is it worth a try? Take her out into summer fallow fields and let her run and have her head and stretch out? And run until she finds running isn't fun anymore? Posted via Mobile Device
Well, it sounds to me like she's a horse who enjoys her job as a ranch horse, and that's why she does so well at it. Maybe she just doesn't enjoy barrels. Or maybe she just needs some time to realize that it's a job she can enjoy...I've had a couple horses who were like that, weren't having fun til I was about to give up on their careers then suddenly made a complete 180 and something clicked in them.
I mean, the whole thing with Squiggy is trying to get her to round up. If she's stretching at the run, that's not necessarily the same idea. That being said though she might like to have that time to burn off some steam every now and then. Maybe it'd help her out. At this point I don't see the harm in trying and playing for a bit...running is fun anyhow, lol.
I thought you already tried letting her run until she didn't want to run anymore?
I'm not sure if that is what Squiggy needs. Because I bet if you do go and breeze her, she will flatten out and run. But as SH said, flattening out and running, and rounding/softening to turn a barrel, are two completely different things.
I love this picture because Beau has perfect body position. Nice and wrapped around that barrel, back rounded, and collected.
Versus the run for home. Legs are straight out, stretching. Head is low. Body is straight. Completely different than a turn.
Yes, I do find that horses quite enjoy getting to open up and run once in a while. It's fun for us and fun for them. I breezed Beau on a regular basis, and I do the same with Red (actually just did Monday night!). However, there are going to be certain horses where they will NEVER want to quit. If that's the case, you never want to try to make one run until they don't want to run anymore, because that moment will never come. Then you risk injury to the horse, if they are one of those horses. I don't know if Squiggy is one of those horses or not ..... you know her best.
Last year, Red would have never stopped if I did that. He would have absolutely run himself DEAD. But this year, he's really coming around and getting quieter and wiser. He's learned a lot (with more to go) and I don't think he would run himself dead anymore. But last year, I would have never tried running him until he would want to stop; because he would not stop.
I'm glad you've found something that Squiggy enjoys (working cows). That might just be her calling in life. At this point, I don't know if barrels are for her or not, since you and her are struggling with it so much. Again, at risk of sounding redundant, this is why I think you need to forget about barrels for a while with her and go do something else. You can always try it again in a couple months, or even next year.
Some horses mentally can't handle the barrels until they are older. I remember Dena Kirkpatrick (who does futurity horses) talk about certain horses and certain breeding in her DVD where they cannot handle running at age 4 and 5. But if you waited on them, they were amazing at age 7 and 8. Barrels weren't for them until they matured and could handle it. That might be the case with Squiggy. She might not be ready to handle what you are asking.
I don't want to sound rude or mean by anything I've said, and I hope you don't take it that way, but I know that you so very much want to make Squiggy into a barrel horse; but that may not be for her right now at this point in time, whether you want to accept it or not. Especially since you cannot enlist the help of a good trainer, which I think would really do wonders. (Because it did for me and Red)