I like to set up random objects in the field. A barrel, a pole, a soccer ball, pick a bush out there, etc. Maybe a tree. I don't like my horses associating "Barrel" with "OMGOMGOMG WE'RE going to RUN AND TURN NOW"
Now while this may be odd, I only do it while I'm in the pasture. I lope up, turn whatever random object is there. If they are having trouble following through with the turn I keep turning for maybe a circle o two then lope off. That will teach that they need to turn when you tell them to, no matter what object is there.
However, I only do this in the pasture. When I'm in the arena I like to set up a square with two barrels and two poles.It doesn't matter where they are placed. I will lope around the rail, then dive in and turn, then lope off again. Maybe I'll weave around the square. Maybe I'll do a figure-right with two of the points.
Also a speed barrel pattern. Three barrels in a line. You weave, turn the last barrel, then weave back.
I don't normally put them on the pattern except for maybe right before we show I'll take them through once or twice just o refresh the memory.....And even then, I may run to the left barrel to the third barrel to the right barrel, or figure eight two barrels and then circle the last one, in whatever order I do so please.
I do like the extended trots too. I take my barrel horses out on the trail and the entire time I trot trot trot trot trot for the muscle. This is fun for me too, and good for desensitizing.
Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.