Need help!! **Tips for barrel racing** - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 4 Old 03-17-2013, 08:31 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: middle of Nowhere
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Arrow Need help!! **Tips for barrel racing**

So. At Christmas, I got my all new favorite thing - a NBHA membership!!!! Now I need to practice, practice, practice!! In mid-April I'm going to my very first NBHA race. It's open to all the districts in my state. I really need some help with training for it though because the ground in my pasture (only place to ride) is VERY wet and muddy, my mare (not a barrel horse) got horribly sick so I'm caring for her, my gelding (the barrel boy) is being onrey, and I'm worried I won't be good enough for the competition!! Over the summer, my gelding (Copper) and I have worked on barrels, we've ran pretty fast, but I'm always accidentally holding him back on the way to the first barrel. Pretty much we trot (REALLY bouncy trot) to first, and just fly around the rest. We make some pretty decent pockets, but I need to let go going to first. Also, our pocket on the first barrel is always to tight or to wide. Suggestions? Like I said, the pasture I ride in is pretty muddy, so lately I've just been walking around with him bareback. Is this ok? If you have any suggestions at all, even dealing with my sick mare, please post or private message me.
Thank you so much!!
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post #2 of 4 Old 03-18-2013, 09:42 PM
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: NW MT
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Are you just running the "cloverleaf" pattern? If so, mix it up, do different things incorporating barrels. One that is great for getting your turns consistent & "closed" properly is "all lefts" or "all rights". You can set it in a cloverleaf pattern w/3 barrels, 3 or 4 barrels in a row; 4 barrels in a square, etc. Just be sure you keep going the same direction AND be sure you do equal amounts on each side. (so you don't build up one side of your horse more than another). There are alot of exercises to practice the components of running barrels w/o just doing the cloverleaf. Running that over & over can lead to it's own problems so try to mix it up. And slow work is ALWAYS good - if you get it perfect at slower paces, then it's going to help your final pattern w/speed. Many people forget alot of the basics w/building your barrels ... & when they add the speed, it all falls apart.
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post #3 of 4 Old 03-19-2013, 11:53 AM
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Newport,NC
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I too am in my first year showing as an NBHA member. I just went to our first show and we had 3 districts there. I don't know how experienced of a rider you are, but I found the free youtube videos of Fallon Taylors Instruction were very helpful for those angles that end up being too wide/tight around the barrels.

I don't want my barrel horse to be spoiled and take off with me so in order to maintain my control of him, like the above post suggests, just do alot of different things. Mix up your patterns, change gaits and do alot of diagonal work.

I am in the process of teaching my horse and he is coming along slowly.

Don't get discouraged by all the fire breathing dragons that basically take off like a bullet and get amazing times. I saw about 80% of those horses almost lose control and one of them ended up sending a rider to the hospital.
As Fallon Taylor describes it, you perfect your pattern and add speed very very last!
Keep me posted I'd love to hear from another NBHA member and how your shows are going.
What state are you in?

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post #4 of 4 Old 03-19-2013, 01:28 PM
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Indiana
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It sounds like you need to get more comfortable with your horse. Is there an indoor arena close by you could haul to to work barrels some? Trotting the barrels practicing your pockets is going to help alot. As for the show, all different levels of riders run NBHA, why it's 4D. Don't stress about it and just do your best. For now just work on getting your horse in shape, when it's dryer lots of trotting will build muscle and cantering will build up the lungs. Just make sure your switching directions.
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