Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Western Pennsylvania
I, personally, would learn barrels yourself on a finished horse..
I'm training one for barrels now, and it takes a lot of patience, a great seat, and to know exactly what you're doing. It's hard work, and I know exactly how it usually ends up when neither horse or rider know how to run a barrel pattern (or how to start a horse on them). I've seen many people at the local shows that I either know personally or through others that have ruined some great horses. I know one girl who thinks she's all that and a bag of chips who has ruined multiple horses that were started, yet not finished, on barrels..she ruined their pockets (usually takes them right into the barrel, and occasionally wayyy too far out of the pocket), created spazzing monsters, and has soured most of them to any arena work at all. I know one girl with a spazz barrel horse that refuses to stop on the way home and has tried to jump the gate because they pushed the mare too hard, too fast and they have no brakes because the horse gets so worked up. It's not a career for these horses that are started by inexperienced/careless (not saying you're careless at all, just pointing out that some around here are), it's 14-25 seconds of hell where you can visibly see that their either panicked or would be completely out of control if they didn't have the harsh bits in their mouths.
Now, if you were working with a trainer and taking lessons, you could have a decent chance of pulling it off and keeping a sane horse that will run a pattern, but, I hate to say it, the odds are against you since you don't have the knowledge of what a finished barrel horse's run feels and looks like, and your horse has not a single idea as to how he's suppose to run a pattern. I wish you luck in whatever you decide to do though, and I hope you come out with a sane, nice horse, regardless of discipline.
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