Too old to start on barrels? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 11:17 PM Thread Starter
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Too old to start on barrels?

So my mare is 14, she's sound and full of energy. She was trained for western pleasure but she has a need for speed that most western pleasure horses don't have. I've done a few small gyhmkhanas on her and she likes it but i dont think she really enjoys it. She tends to get a little too hot and goes slow on the barrel pattern then takes off going home. I really want to start her on barrels because i've out grown western pleasure. Should i? Or is she too old to pick up something new? I don't want to sell her for a younger barrel horse because i've had her for a while and i want to keep her until she passes. I want us both to be happy but western pleasure just doesn't do it for me anymore and i dont think she would really enjoy barrels, but i would only be doing the pattern like once a week so she isn't stuck doing barrels everyday... Help!

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post #2 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 11:19 PM
Green Broke
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She isn't to old at all.. I know horses that are still barrel racing in there mid 20's. I'd say go for it.
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post #3 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by barrelbeginner View Post
She isn't to old at all.. I know horses that are still barrel racing in there mid 20's. I'd say go for it.
Thank you!!

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post #4 of 8 Old 10-07-2013, 11:53 PM
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Sure, if she's sound, let her work. Keep her going slow and correct, but by all means, let her go every now and then. Nothing pisses my mare off more than binding her up going slow. When she gets stiff and tight like that, I push her hard and make her run out. She gets super happy doing that. I don't accept crazy behavior, but if she gets stuck sometimes that's what she needs. You just have to know your horse. If you think your horse will get too crazy doing this, then don't. If you think it'll help, go for it.

Bend is your friend on a hot barrel horse. Ride her like a reiner. Hot horses get tight and stiffen up. Make her drive into the bridle, and get her soft in the face (As a WP horse I'm sure she is already) and bend her almost to your boot going to that barrel going slow.

Good luck!

Pssh.I didn't pick up the wrong lead
It's called a counter canter...
...A very advanced maneuver.
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post #5 of 8 Old 10-14-2013, 11:25 PM
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14 is a fine age. As long as the horse is sound and happy I don't think it's ever too late to try something new.
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post #6 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 09:25 AM
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Originally Posted by myhorseMia View Post
i dont think she would really enjoy barrels, but i would only be doing the pattern like once a week
If your horse does not like doing the barrels, don't force her to.

If she's getting hot on the barrel pattern already (and you've only taken her to a couple gaming shows) then you are pushing her too hard too fast.

There's absolutely nothing wrong with teaching an older horse a new event. So long as the horse is sound for it, and the horse enjoys it too. But that doesn't mean you can rush through training and skip vital steps the horse needs to be successful.

Check out this thread for training tips.
Barrel Racing Exercises and Drills.

It takes 6 months to 2 years to train a horse to run barrels. It will take you much close to that 2 year mark if you only work on the barrels once a week.

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post #7 of 8 Old 10-15-2013, 09:27 AM
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My horse is 22 and he runs barrels very nicely! We may be super slow, but he has great formation and I love his speed. But he has been lazy ever since he was born, so don't worry about them slowing down when they get older! haha! But Brisco is 22 years old and still has plenty of riding years left!

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post #8 of 8 Old 10-16-2013, 12:14 PM
Green Broke
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My mare is 22 and still haulin butt.

My friend started her mare this year on barrels and she is doing fantastic. She was was a cutting horse her whole life and understood barrels pretty quick. I believe she is 18?

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