Starting a barrel horse

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Starting a barrel horse

This is a discussion on Starting a barrel horse within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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  • 1 Post By bubba13

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    11-21-2011, 10:59 PM
Starting a barrel horse

So I am going to start riding my friends horse for her because she is getting a little to old to hop in the saddle. Now I have been riding for 14 years and I have a lot of experience. But I have NEVER trained my own horse. This horse is 8 years old. She has nice conformation. I want to start her in barrels. I don't know if she has ever done any work in barrels, but considering how popular barrel racing is, I know she has probably done the pattern a time or two. Any tips on training a barrel horse? (I'm not horse term savy, so please dumb it down. Lol) I think she is pretty much good on basic training.
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    11-21-2011, 11:06 PM
You need a horse soft and responsive to direct rein, indirect rein, and legs, with good bend and flex, and good lateral movement, very good whoa, soft, respectful...

Shake it up to keep your horse fresh. Patterning is good if you want to place high, but not excessively, but you may get second-guessing which you then have to correct.

If you've got the time and money to haul to a professional clinic, that may not be a bad idea. Or at least buy some videos--they'll actually help. There's far more info than can be typed out in a web forum.
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    11-21-2011, 11:13 PM
Is your friend ok with you starting their horse on barrels? That would be my first concern.
    11-22-2011, 01:20 AM
I will ask them before I ride the horse. I just want to know how if they say yes. Plus I'm getting into training barrel horses in a few months anyways, so either way the information would be great to have. :)
    11-25-2011, 06:04 PM
I agree with babba13 the first things to work on are control in every direction and having a flexiable horse. I was in your shoes and few years ago with my mare. One thing I wish I had worked more on is flexiablity when she was younger. Every though you are training her for barrels you do not have to work exculsively with barrels. One of my best tools are cones and working figure eights around them. Also if you have a horse that you notice is "counting stides" as my mare does make your barrel pattern a little bigger and smaller to show them that the pattern is not the same size everytime. I trained in a small home arena and had picture perfect runs at home so I entered the local rodeo and my mare counted her stides and turned even though the first barrel was at least 3 strides away. Now I go to as many different arenas as possible and change the size of my patterns. Remember just because you have a big arena you don't have to run a big pattern. This also helps keep a horse from using the fence to turn. Good luck! Have fun and if anything feels weird take a step back and start again.

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