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Slow horse in general?

This is a discussion on Slow horse in general? within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Run the barrels
  • Running barrels in hoof boots

 
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    04-02-2011, 12:05 PM
  #11
Green Broke
Quote:
Thanks very much for your input, but I really don't want any critique on my riding.
This is the attitude that needs to change. Most "horse problems" are actually caused by the rider, unintentionally of course. But how you ride is so important for how your horse is going to react and respond. You can't expect the horse to get the answer if you are not asking the question in the right way.

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I would run around the barrel pattern and she would follow me around them when she was little.
Cute, good bonding with your horse, and potentially good sacking out (getting her used to the barrels), but really has zero to do with barrel racing training in itself.

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Anyways, I wanted to start barrels up again a few years ago, and couldn't afford much for a horse, so I settled for an amazing yearling prospect.
So exactly how old is this horse? Three? Four? Five? That's going to make a big difference in how much we should be expecting her to give for speed at this point.

Now looking at the video....

--Yay for wearing a helmet! Sorry, just always have to comment on that when I see it. I am a fellow helmet-wearing-barrel-racer and usually am the only one at the races I go to.

--I would recommend getting some barrel racing reins to use when you practice the barrels, rather than split reins.

--I would also recommend that you get some protective sport boots for her. You are, indeed, asking her to perform athletic maneuvars with a rider on her back on ground that is not ideal (more on that below). The least you can do is give her some leg protection for the "what ifs".

--I can't see that well in the video, but what kind of ground are you running on? It looks like regular pasture-type grass to me. If I were your horse, I wouldn't want to speed things up either! Just because she does not have enough traction and stability for her feet that she needs in the barrel turns. So she may not want to go faster because she may not feel safe doing so. Think of a basketball player wearing socks and no shoes on the court....

--I agree with BuckOff on that your approach to the first barrel is VERY wide. You should be heading straight for your pocket on the first barrel; not slowing arcing to it. That costs you time, time, time. The quickest distance between two points is a straight line (simple physics).

--I do see that you made your pocket wide on the first barrel. I don't necessarily have a problem with that because it is a way to deal with a horse that anticipates. However, you should also really be using your entire body to discourage her from turning too soon. Keep you inside leg on her to move her out and away from the barrel if she starts creeping in. Give her a supportive inside rein to "hold" her off the barrel (this is where barrel reins work nicely). Personally, I like to use a verbal cue for the exact moment I want my horses to turn, usually "Hup!".

--Did you slow her down at the end of the first barrel turn (to switch leads) or did she break gait on her own? Either way, that shouldn't be happening. The point that you break into a trot is the very point you want her blasting with power out of that first barrel turn!! If she broke gait on her own, it's because she lost collection. She work on that by driving her forward with your legs and seat (not leaning, which can throw her off-balance. You ever try to turn on a motorcycle when you are leaning the wrong way? Doesn't work very well.....) If you were the one to slow her down so that you could ask for a lead change, don't do it there. Either do it in the middle between the 1st and 2nd barrel, or make your pattern larger to give you more room to do it. You just don't want to give her the idea that it is okay to actually slow down when she is leaving the barrel. We want power and speed when we leave the barrel!

--Overall, your hand and body position seems good on the first barrel. Hands are nice and low and it looks like you pull toward your belt buckle. Good. However, it does look like you are just plain sittin' there during the turn. Get active! Drive her foward around the barrel like I was saying above.

Quote:
Also there was a bit of a hill on the second barrel, so yes I cut that one WAAAY too sharp.
--This goes back to my comment about the ground you are running on. Can you really expect her to add speed to a pattern on bad ground? If there is a hill in the middle of your pattern, that is NOT ideal ground and if I were a horse, I wouldn't' want to pick up the pace either because I wouldn't feel safe doing so.

--Therefore, I was going to say that your 2nd barrel turn is WAY too tight. If you continue to do that with her you will create a very bad habit. In order to make such a tight turn, she needs to slow down. A lot. That costs you tons of time and does not encourage her to speed up the pattern like you are wanting.

--Move your barrels or do whatever you need to do to have even ground with deep enough footing.

--As buckoff already pointed out, and as I mentioned on your first barrel above, you leave the 2nd way too wide which costs costs costs you time. Remember, the shortest quickest line between two points is a straight line.

Quote:
And yes I lean forward quite a bit, but that is the way I train my horse. That if I lean forward off her hind end, she will pick up the pace for the most part.
There's nothing wrong with leaning forward some to encourage movement. I think most everyone does that when sprinting a horse. However, you don't want to lean foward quite a bit. Why? Think about the position that puts your body in. What if your horse would veer or slow their speed suddenly? That is going to pop you right up and out of the saddle if you are leaning too far ahead. Also, your legs would not be in a position that you can correct side to side things, because you are leaning your upper body weight so far ahead.

Just be sure you are not leaning too far forward that it is compromising good horsemanship position.

--You may come into the third barrel just a tad wide, which at this point is okay because she is still learning and little extra room is better than a turn that is too tight. I can't tell how close you cut it on the backside, but you definitely leave the third barrel too wide. Suck up that turn on the backside! You want to leave the 3rd barrel completely straight and make a dead straight run for the time line. Any arching costs you time.

Overall and quite honestly, I don't think you are ready to be adding any more speed at all until you fix the issues with your pattern. Adding speed to what you have now will only make all those bad habits worse and make your pattern very sloppy and slow.



Do you now see why I asked you first if you really wanted help or not? I'd have hated to have taken the time to write all that and have you respond: "Thanks very much for your input, but I really don't want any critique on my riding." ALL of the things I mentioned can certainly have an impact on the speed issue you are having.

And a little more about that.....

I agree with smrobs. You have a pretty small-looking barrel pattern (nothing wrong with that) but it can really make it hard for a young horse to learn to open up because there is so little straight-away space in between the barrels.

Have you actually ever RUN her in a wide open space (with good footing of course)? You have to teach her how to run before you can expect her to do the same in a barrel pattern. Breezing a few times a week may be very beneficial for her to figure out that she is allowed to run as fast as she can with a rider on her back.

And right again with smrobs. Do less big kicks and more squeezing-type for encouragement.

At this point in her training, there surely is NO need for whips or spurs. She's still learning and she is going to learn at her own pace. No whip or spur is going to change that and can actually make her resent barrels, as you have discovered with her pinning her ears to those tools. They have their place in barrel racing, but I don't believe they have a place when the horse is still being trained for barrels.

-So trying some breezing and learning to run.
-Try making your pattern larger so she has more opportunity to pick up speed in between the barrels.
-Improve your ground conditions.
-Try squeezing/bumping, rather than actually kicking.
-Try not to lean too much because you want to keep yourself centered and in good position, or else you will throw her off too. Think of it this way: Wouldn't it be really hard to sprint 100 meters with a backpack attached to your left side only? Versus wearing the backpack on your back like it was intended? Same concept with leaning too much on your horse, because where your weight is affects how your horse can perform.
     
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    04-02-2011, 03:48 PM
  #12
Foal
Thank you very much for your input! She's almost five years old, and I've had her since she was a yearling. I plan on making the pattern wider once the snow is gone. Also we just bought a pair of studded renegade boots, that should give her much better footing (unfortunately I don't have the access to an indoor arena frequently enough for there to be much point, and the outdoor arena that I could use is very small. I understand what you mean about the smaller pattern, and you are definitely right, and once again once the snow is gone we'll see what we can do about the footing. And yes it was me that slowed her down after first to switch leads. She's kinda funny about changing leads, she rarely does it naturally normally she will switch with her front, and kind of half canter/half trot with her back feet (quite weird), so were working on it. Unfortunately there's not much I can do till the snows gone, but the road is finally clear, so we're just going to work on running her a little down the road to get her used to running. Thanks again, and I'll try to put some updates up as soon as there's anything to post.
     
    04-10-2011, 06:58 PM
  #13
Foal
Something I learned for myself training my horse. He was an 8 y.o. Trail horse that did not want to get near a barrel. Literally.
After running pattern after pattern, I got a little advise. That being, Slow work is better in the long run.
This worked for me and my horse. We did 3 or 4 days of walking to the barrels and stopping before turning. Then progressed to trotting to and walking around, followed by loping to and trotting around.
He has learned how to set up (collect himself) for the turn and spin right around the barrel. Still not the fastest horse but consistent.

It's not just speed that wins a race, but complete turns and straight lines between barrels.

Good luck and have fun.
We rarely practice at full tilt run.
     
    04-16-2011, 02:19 PM
  #14
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by jethroish    
Something I learned for myself training my horse. He was an 8 y.o. Trail horse that did not want to get near a barrel. Literally.
After running pattern after pattern, I got a little advise. That being, Slow work is better in the long run.
This worked for me and my horse. We did 3 or 4 days of walking to the barrels and stopping before turning. Then progressed to trotting to and walking around, followed by loping to and trotting around.
He has learned how to set up (collect himself) for the turn and spin right around the barrel. Still not the fastest horse but consistent.

It's not just speed that wins a race, but complete turns and straight lines between barrels.

Good luck and have fun.
We rarely practice at full tilt run.
^^ this!! People think I'm crazy when I talk like that, but it is SO true.

If I were you, I would work on getting that horse to speed up AWAY from barrels. If you have a large arena or flat piece of land you can gallop on, do that to get the horse used to speeding up when you ask. You still need work on barrels so speed shouldn't be a big concern just yet. I would just walk/trot the pattern for a while, then when you feel you've got a good 'program', start loping it. Then add speed. Try not to over-do it on barrels, too! So many people think the way to perfect barrel racing is to practice, practice, practice...but that is SO wrong! So many horses end up sour that way. I only practice once a week, IF that once my horse is conditioned. I think a few times a week could be okay too, depending on how you go about it. But if everytime you work your horse, you are doing barrels - or everytime you enter the ring, you're doing barrels - your horse may very well end up sour and start acting up. I like to add in LOTS of trail riding inbetween barrel practices.

I have a hot horse, sometimes it gets in the way...so I say I need to slow her down. People stare at me like I'm crazy though, I just giggle to myself.

Also, I know you said you didn't want a critique on yourself but I urge you to open yourself up to one. Alot of our horses problems are caused by us, it takes a while to accept it but the moment you do, you're helping your horse immensely. If there is something wrong with my horses performance, I look at myself first and find I solve our problems alot easier/quicker that way. Good luck with your horse!
     
    05-13-2011, 03:31 PM
  #15
Foal
Ok, I wanted to update this forum, and thank everyone once again for all the advice and putting up with my snotty attitude! I will have to post a new video as soon as I get one, as both of us have improved greatly!! I sit down much more when I ride, my hands don't move, I don't lean into my leads nearly as much (but I do slip up still -I guess old habits die hard), and I don't kick her. I have switched her from a snaffle bit to a side pull (long story on why we did that), but it is really helping! Also I don't even have to touch her sides to make her go, and man can that girl RUN now! We haven't been doing too much on the pattern aside from walk/trot/loping (only a little lope) as we plan on getting as good as we can in every other aspect first. Also she has been fitted with a pair of splint boots, and renegade hoof boots so running on the harder ground isn't as bad, and we only go fast on the softer footing. Thanks again everyone for your patience, and for all your help!!
     

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