i actually need help getting my 4yo mare to not turn on the forehand. she does rollbacks in the field playing and whatnot but i'm not sure how to tap into those skills that i KNOW she does possess. any tips on how to achieve this so we can become better contestors?
In order for a horse to perform a roll back he has to carry his weight on the hind end. With my colts I will take them to a corner of the arena and use the walls to teach this. I don't use the same wall, I use the walls perpendicular to each other.(I hope that makes sense) That leaves a better angle to teach this. You want enough space between the wall and the horse to encourage him to set his weight back to free his front end up. I found if you get too close he feels stuck and it just encourages them to pivot on the front. I will work them against the wall back and forth, usually at a trot to get that forward momentum to help them propel them through it.Also you can go lope a circle in between turning him into the fence. This will keep him relaxed and freed up and not worried about the exercise. While you are teaching this, it may take him a while for him to learn, so even if he takes one step correctly push him out of it and trot off. Then you can ask for two and so on. You might have to teach at the walk, stop, back him up a step to rock his weight back, then turn him out of it. And again just let him take one step then when he can do that try two, then pretty soon your doing a complete rollback. By reining standards there is usually a hesitation between a stop and a roll back but with a barrel horse you want that momentum. Because your teaching him to rate, put his weight in his hind, and keep that weight there so he can push himself out of the turn to increase his speed out of the turn. Shoulder control is a major factor. If you don't keep his shoulders up you will lose momentum, because basically he dropped all his weight into that shoulder and this will cause his hind end to swing around-the cause for a knocked over barrel.
And I forgot to mention another important factor, you have to get the rib out of the way for him to be able set his inside front leg back enough so he can clear it with the outside front. If they step behind with that outside leg it is incorrect and they get "hung up" and if they don't get that inside front leg set back then he has to reach way out front to clear it your horse gets strung out and isn't "coiled up" to push himself out of the roll back with power.
I kinda combined my techniques for teaching a spin and a rollback in my explanation so I hope it makes sense, I guess it may depend on the use of your horse and what you really want accomplish. May it be to truly teach a rollback or to teach your horse to carry his weight on his hind through a tight turn.
I don't know hardly anything about barrel horses but I think you can apply techniques from different disciplines to get great results . My husband and I are spending the winter in Texas this year and I took a quick job riding barrel horses when we got here. I have a new found respect for a good barrel racer. Barrel racing really is harder than it looks! As we all know with horses everything falls apart at speed, and if you don't pay attention during your slow work, you find your problems at speed! I learned a lot about shoulder control and it has carried over into my cowhorses. Their turns on cattle have improved greatly because I took my knowledge from barrel horses and applied it working cattle.