when do you switch to one hand and grab the horn?
-I don't. I prefer to just have a solid seat and sit through my turn, but don't use the horn. I find more often than not it gets used as a crutch and tends to throw peoples balance, and thus the horse, off. If you're going to, you should only be holding while you are turning around the barrel to keep your seat deep.
When do you sit down?
- I sit to rate. Each horse will rate at a differant spot. My horse rates the second barrel and a differant spot than the first and third. But basically as soon as I want my horse to get his bum under him and turning, I'll sit.
When do you start to turn? Again, for each horse it's different. The most important thing is to FINISH your turn. Once you start, follow through. Too many people don't complete their turn and run straight out of the back end of the barrel.
How many feet do you stay from the barrel during a run?
...I don't really? So long as my shin isnt going to be touching the barrel, my horses shoulder is up and he is balanced, I am going to keep as close as I can.
When do you rate? See the other two answers :)
How do you position your horse? Balanced, nose slightly turned into the barrel, barrel and shoulders up and bent.
What are your top barrel practice patterns?
Not sure exactly what this means...I like to do lots of sprints, long trotting, cavaletti, dressage, trails...etc. Basic move the body parts independantly and keeping my horse supple. On the pattern, I will sometimes run it backwards, skip a barrel, just do one, etc. Or at where I would normally rate, I'll stop. My horse knows the pattern though. This is just to keep him fresh and paying attention.