Stock horse wont canter around barrels - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 11 Old 08-16-2011, 06:06 AM Thread Starter
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Red face Stock horse wont canter around barrels

Hi, you may have seen lots of my posts. i do lots of sports with My stock horse! Reining, jumping, and I'm teaching cutting and basic dressage and of course barrel racing. I know,,, its allot of sports for 1 horse. So I have a major prob..
He wont canter around barrels, trot if lucky but he tends to slow down when he turns, which is not good, so some help please.Thanks
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post #2 of 11 Old 08-16-2011, 05:04 PM
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I'm not sure I understand...does he start to canter and then trot around the barrels, or will he not even start cantering?
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post #3 of 11 Old 08-16-2011, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by cowgirls4 View Post
He wont canter around barrels, trot if lucky but he tends to slow down when he turns, which is not good, so some help please.Thanks
On the contrary, dropping a little bit of speed is a good thing, not bad. This is called "rate," and by rating he's getting himself ready for the turn so when he does, he won't fall down. Rate, bend, and responding to leg pressure is ideal for barrel horses (especially competitive ones).
"A winning barrel horse must know how to rate," says Martha Josey, world champion barrel racer and clinician. "In simple terms, rating means slowing down and positioning your horse properly for the barrel turn. A winning barrel horse, depending on his particular style of turning, will require different rate distances."
Rating Your Run -
Also, what's the size of the pattern you're running?
If you have a small pattern your horse may be unwilling to pick up his lope because he'll have to slow for the turn soon, anyway. We have a few "quick" horses who do this at the livery; they won't pick up the lope in the pasture arena, even with some quirt action, but when at shows with bigger patterns they will pick up speed with very little (if not no) persuasion. If you need to know about the different pattern sizes, check this link. If the horse can't "open up" and pick up his speed because of a small pattern, I wouldn't even bother asking for it until the pattern was "upgraded."

"Adapt or perish, now as ever, is nature's inexorable imperative." (H.G. Wells)
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Last edited by Creampuff; 08-16-2011 at 08:08 PM.
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post #4 of 11 Old 08-17-2011, 12:14 AM
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Try doing figure 8's around the barrels and with them there. I often put my first two barrels closer together and do figure 8's around them it's a great exercise and I do this with young just started barrel horses too. Also I agree with the rating. The way I rate my horse is when i set up the right distance I give him a slight tug on the reigns before we turn for real. Make sure your giving your horse enough room. Its ok to go a lil wide at first till you understand your horses optimum distance from the barrel.

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post #5 of 11 Old 08-17-2011, 01:52 AM
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You don't rate by pulling or tugging on the rate with your seat then hands if need be.
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post #6 of 11 Old 08-17-2011, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by 1RedHorse View Post
You don't rate by pulling or tugging on the rate with your seat then hands if need be.
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I don't think I explained that right i should of been more thorough. It was late I tired and didn't explain fully. I rate my horse with my body and foot position but I also use a extemely light reign cue. I don't think i can explain it well it would be something I would have to show.
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post #7 of 11 Old 08-17-2011, 08:10 AM
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What I'm talking about up there is pretty much done all at one it's a movement I do when I set pepper to turn. The reign cue makes him drop his head to the turn and with him being a very large thoroughbred this makes for a fast fluid turn instead a of a bumpy jerky turn. But you know everyone has thier own style. Foot pressure is extremely important when turning barrels. It tells the horse that your turning, and if he has has enough room in the pocket you've made for him, it help to position his body going around the barrel.
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post #8 of 11 Old 08-17-2011, 02:59 PM
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If you are working on cutting, have you learned roll backs yet?
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post #9 of 11 Old 08-23-2011, 06:06 PM
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I agree with previous statements about the rate.

However, eventually the horse should learn to collect and slow his canter versus breaking gait.

Try doing some all-rights and all-left patterns. If you don't know what that is, all-rights would be going to the first barrel, loping the circle, going to the third loping a circle, then coming back to the second barrel and loping a circle before going back to the first. Same thing with all-lefts only you start on the left barrel on the left lead.

My guess is that since the horse probably hasn't been being patterned long, they aren't ready to be turning small circles yet. Try doing begger circles instead. Start at twenty five feet. Then twenty. Then fifteen. Then ten. then eventually your 3-4 foot pocket.

Be sure you're helping him too by using your legs to keep his inside hock under him and using a little combo of outside and inside rein to not only guide him around the turn but to pick up his inside shoulder and keep him from dropping it.

Also, make sure you are ready to be loping the pattern. It takes months and months of serious training to get a nice pattern loped, and THEN you add the speed.

Keeping the hors eon his hindquarters is also important. If you have started on cutting, then you should learn rollbacks (Like mls said) and that will also help you with your turns.

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.

Last edited by SorrelHorse; 08-23-2011 at 06:09 PM.
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post #10 of 11 Old 08-25-2011, 08:07 PM
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Have you tried cantering him around just one barrel? I do this with all my barrel horses. I set up one barrel and canter a nice even circle around it, pick any size circle that your horse will canter completely around. Then as he gets the hang of that, make the circle a little smaller. Once he gets balanced with that one, go smaller, and so on... Good luck!

The wind of heaven is that which blows between a horse's ears. ~Arabian Proverb
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