Thinking of getting into barrel racing

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Thinking of getting into barrel racing

This is a discussion on Thinking of getting into barrel racing within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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        09-30-2013, 12:04 AM
    Thinking of getting into barrel racing

    Hi. I was thinking of taking up barrels. Nothing major or super competitive - just fun shows if any.

    I have a 17 year old double registered palomino/quarter horse named Sonny.

    We bought him from my mom's friend about three years ago. She competed with him nationally on barrels and had owned him since he was 3 or so. She gave him to us because she said he's not fast enough for the level she wanted. But believe me, he's plenty fast. Clocked him at 47 mph. That's plenty fast for me.

    Also, when I was in high school, my junior year (3 years ago) my friend used him on the equestrian team as a speed horse. He was undefeated in poles, and barrels.

    In our pasture, we have an area that barrels could be set up.

    I'm not concerned about his ability to run them as he has been trained and loves to run them.

    I'm concerned with my ability to ride him as he runs them.

    Any tips and pointers would be helpful.

    I have been riding officially since I was 4 (I'm 20) and unofficially since before I could walk. I've owned horses my entire life.

    The majority of my riding, however, consisted of trail riding (Sonny's an awesome trail horse) and lessons. I have let him go all out before and I can sit that just fine.

    It's just the mechanics of running barrels that I'm concerned about.

    He makes very tight, steep turns when he's running even when there are no barrels around and I find them slightly difficult to sit. I'm concerned that with the barrel there and him going from a turn to a bolt will knock me off balance.

    Any help would be appreciated.

    I know Sonny and I would love something more to do than just going around the perimeter of the pasture and going on trails :)
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        09-30-2013, 02:57 PM
    Take lessons. Sounds like you have a good horse to get started on. But in all honestly your best bet is to go and take some lessons. You don't have to take them for forever but enough to figure out what you as a rider need to do and improve on. Find a respected barrel racer, or even ask your moms friend to help you out.

    The main thing is your seat, your going to have to work on your balance. Keeping your heels down. And learning to use your hands the correct way.
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        09-30-2013, 04:37 PM
    Yes, find a trainer.

    Riding a horse like him may end up with your butt in the dirt.

    Also not sure what your arena will consist of, but do not run barrels on grass. Its dangerous.
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        09-30-2013, 05:23 PM
    Originally Posted by CLaPorte432    

    Riding a horse like him may end up with your butt in the dirt.

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    What do you mean by "a horse like him"? Just curious.
        09-30-2013, 05:33 PM
    As in a trained barrel horse who knows their job would leave you on your butt when they go to turn and fire out. It happens. That's why I won't let my lesson kids ride my mare at a show. She's great and gentle, but they aren't ready to run a finished horse.

    I agree that finding a trainer is the best option.
        09-30-2013, 06:22 PM
    Yes what SorrelHorse said.

    From the sounds of it, he is a high caliber horse. And that type of horse is not for a beginner. A horse that knows his job will leave you in the dust if you don't know how to ride em.
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        09-30-2013, 09:04 PM
    Green Broke
    Agree with the others.

    When starting a new sport, it is important to start at a level that will suit you. When you are a sophomore in high school on the football team, you'd be out of your league if you jumped to the NFL the next year. You'd get crushed.

    Just like if you are brand new to barrel racing and you try to ride a horse that doesn't know how to slow down for you. You both will end up frustrated.

    So you need to make sure your horse is going to be at your current ability.

    And lessons and a trainer are a must! Yes we can help you over the internet, but would you want an airline pilot to learn only over the internet?? No! You'd want them to have personal hands-on training.
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        10-19-2013, 01:51 PM
    I agree with the others. Get someone to teach you how to ride that caliber of a horse. Take lots of lessons! Sounds like you also have a little of a balance issue, I would definitely start working on that. I ride a lot bareback (careful not to ride too much, your horse could get sore in the back) and I ride without stirrups a LOT! What my trainer recommended when I first started barrel racing. I do a lot of loping in circles to A) keep my horse in shape and B) help my balance. The turns can be daunting, but if you work at it, it is possible to get to the point of doing a bareback run at full speed. It took me years of riding to be able to do that, but it was worth it!

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