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post #21 of 27 Old 02-03-2012, 03:25 PM
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Originally Posted by mudpie View Post
I'm simply suggesting that perhaps the horse's "thing" isn't barrel racing. As a horseperson who has both ridden in and observed barrel racing and other rodeo sports, I've seen some horses that just don't have the predisposition to be barrel horses and would be happy somewhere else.
But that's a bit hard to tell when its only walking the pattern.
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post #22 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 01:03 PM
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This sounds like your horse just needs plain ol' training. I wouldn't even have him on the barrel pattern itself right now, as there are plenty of things you can do to train him on basic riding fundamentals, that can be carried over to barrel training.

You should be able to stop him easily from any gait, without fighting his mouth. He should back up readily and relaxed, and giving his mouth properly to the bit. You should be able to walk, trot, and canter on a loose rein while staying in perfect control of him. He should be able to respond to your leg aids and do sidepassing, leg yields, and diagonals. He should respond to your seat (that you are using to slow him down and/or stop). He should both direct rein and neck rein easily. He should know both simple lead changes and flying lead changes, as you need flying lead changes for barrels (and he should be attuned to your legs anyway). You should be able to do rollbacks with him, as well as turns on the haunches and turns on the fore.

In a nutshell --> He should be 100% broke to ride and you should be able to control any part of his body at any time at any pace.

So the fact that he won't turn when you ask him (barrels or not) means you need to go back to training basics and fix that training issue.

An O-ring snaffle is fine. Actually, that's what I prefer to start my horses in. You only bump up to a shanked bit when they are ready to be fine tuned and lighter in their cues.

Without actually seeing a video of what's going on, the best I can assume is that YOU are doing something wrong with rider error. Are you cueing and releasing at the appropriate times? Let's say we are going to do a turn to the left. You'll keep your left leg off of him (to "open the door"), you'll give pressure with your right leg, give direct rein pressure on the left, and give a supporting neck rein with the right rein. Don't pull harder .... just stay consistent. The very instant he responds correctly by turning to the left, even the smallest bit, you need to immediately remove all your cues. That is his reward for doing the correct thing -- you remove the pressure.

If you are not cueing him right, or if you are not releasing the pressure immediately, all you are doing is confusing the heck of out him, and he just learns to blow through your cue or ignore it alltogether.

As I said, I don't know that your riding is the problem, but more often than not, the rider is at fault. Hard to say what exactly is going on without seeing a video.

And if he gets bored easily, don't sit and do the barrel pattern over and over again. Just go trail riding and randomly work on things. If you see a tree stump, go turn around it like it is a barrel. Walk toward a fence and do a rollback when you get to it. Do serpentines up and down the ditch. As him to sidepass over a log. Back a ways down the trail instead.

In the arena, you can set more than 3 barrels up in random places around the arena, and just randomly go from one to the other turning them. Turn some of them multiple times. Go past some and don't turn them. Etc. Just keep it different.

You have lots of time to pattern him on the pattern. Sounds like you need to work on basic riding fundamentals first.

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post #23 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 03:02 PM
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You know, it sounds like the OP is wanting to go slowly with the training, and that is a good thing. She is asking for training exercises, and that is a good thing, She is asking for bit advice, and that is a good thing (I would keep him in the soft bit for the little things, right now, personally).

There is no need to be attacking her for going slowly, for Pete's sake. We are usually seeing people go way too fast and shaking our heads. 1redhorse, how can you be so frustrated when people are going slowly and asking advice?

OP, I think asking if the horse's heart is in barrels is a VERY appropriate question. I get horses in for training who really don't like dressage and love to jump (and vice versa). I think it is a mistake to MAKE a horse do what you want them to do, even if they don't enjoy it. It makes for a miserable time for you both and the horse will not excel.

Ask yourself the hard question.... Just how much does he WANT to do it?
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post #24 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by mudpie View Post
Did you ever think that maybe barrel racing just isn't his thing? I'm sure that there's loads of other things that he'd excel at. Especially at nonprofessional levels, barrel racing can be a rough sport that just isn't meant for every horse.
I'm very much agree with this statement as well as with what Allison said just above. Horses DO have preferences themselves whether we like it or not (and often the will doesn't depend on conformation - whether it's suited for particular discipline or not). Sure you can make a horse to do what it doesn't enjoy, but I doubt it'll give the heart into what it's doing and will be looking to win for you. I'm NOT saying if it's a case with the OP's horse, just saying in general.

barrelbeginner, you really want to establish a foundation first. beau already gave an excellent advice on how to start, so I'm not gonna add much. I want to add only that it's MUCH better to go slow but solid, then fast but with the holes in basics.

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post #25 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 04:14 PM
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well what i did with my 3 year old this summer, he was broke to ride a month before i got him and hes one of the best youngsters ive rode. but i set up a small barrel pattern in the yard, i would walk him through it both ways, then after a few time tort them and if he didnt do it well i would just take him around that barrel agian, i would end with figure eights around 2 of them to get him to pay attention to me. after a while i would canter to the barrels and trot around the barrels. we havent cantered them yet.
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post #26 of 27 Old 02-05-2012, 08:26 PM
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Allison you've misunderstood my post.
I'm glad the OP is taking things slow. My post was in reference to Mudpie. You cannot tell if a horse should be a barrel horse by walking the pattern.
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post #27 of 27 Old 02-11-2012, 09:34 PM
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It could be a ton of different things, every horse has there quirks. It would help if you took a video of a barrel turn, and posted it on youtube or something and posted the link for us. Could he be scared or unsure of the barrel? Also, I have my mare in a snaffle, and sometimes if I pull too hard on her mouth, the other side of the bit slides through and she shy's the other direction. Are you using you legs to turn him? My morgan/QH is an amazing barrel racer, but he won't turn for nothing if I don't put my outside leg on him. If you find yourself pushing with your inside leg around the turn, your problem could be there. Like others have said, I would practice lots of rollback, then, about 3/4 of the way around the barrel I would que for a rollback. Hope I've helped!
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