UN training a barrel horse??

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UN training a barrel horse??

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

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    12-07-2010, 02:28 AM
Question UN training a barrel horse??

I have recently come into ownership of a wonderful ex-barrel horse (the lady who raced her decided she just didn't have the time anymore). I love her to death, she gets along great with the rest of "the herd" (horse, human, and otherwise)... BUT -- Barrels are all she knows. Her previous owner took her to a show, ran her, took her home and put her up. She has no pleasure/trails/just-to-ride riding. Any time I get on her, she goes from 0 to flat out if I even graze her with my feet, and she spins around everything, light posts, hay feeders in the pasture, the mineral block stand, something in her imagination when there is nothing there... We have a set of barrels set up in one of our smaller pastures that my cousin practices on, and my mare got in there the other day and kept running the pattern by herself. Think I'll be able to "just" ride her, or is this something that is just there? (If it makes a difference, she is 10, and when her previous owner quit running her, she was consistantly running 17-18 second standard patterns...)
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    12-11-2010, 03:42 AM
I purchased a mentally fried barrel horse... poor guy was only 5 yrs old. I fell in love with Clinton Anderson's methods all the more after that guy. I did the flexing, one rein stops, and all that with him. It was the easiest way, in my opinion.
If you can get a hold of one his DVD's, do so (unless you are already familiar with the method). It took me about 3 months to get all the basics down; he would finally walk, trot, and lope on a loose rein. Get a snaffle on your horse and just go back to basics. It is not hopeless, no matter the age. The only thing is, it may take you a little longer than it did me since your horse has more "bad" years on her.

Good luck! And let me know if you want me to explain anything... It's late and I'm going to bed now. :)
    12-11-2010, 03:46 AM
On a horse like this, I agree with just starting from scratch.

I would give the horse a period of time off just to mentally recoup and get to be a horse for awhile. Spend time sitting out there with him, but don't really demand any work out of him (other than respecting your space and having general manners). I would be cutting any unnecessary grain and sugars as well.

Then bring him back from the beginning, ground up like you would a colt. Generally if you keep the energy low and not ask too much too soon, they come around quicker than expected. Once he is sane, supple, and responsive on the ground, move to the saddle.

I normally am not a fan of excessive ground work. But in cases like this it has been my experience that it usually benefits the horse more.
    12-11-2010, 11:22 AM
Thanks guys! I will probably let her "sit out" till spring, and start her over. I have started babies, so that's one plus I guess. :)
    12-11-2010, 11:54 AM
I agre with the Clinton Anderson, I would give her time off plus slowly introducing to new things. A way to say, "Hey check this out it isn't abarrel you don't have to freak out"
    12-11-2010, 04:21 PM
I would put a $10000 price tag on her and sell her to a barrel racer. If she was really running 17-18 second runs and she is anywhere near sound she is worth quite a bit. Put the square peg in the square hole.
    12-11-2010, 10:33 PM
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
I would put a $10000 price tag on her and sell her to a barrel racer. If she was really running 17-18 second runs and she is anywhere near sound she is worth quite a bit. Put the square peg in the square hole.

:roll: There is nothing wrong with the horse going back and learning basics. It will make life easier for not only the horse, but any future people that may aquire her.
    12-12-2010, 01:10 AM
My horse was the same way - he ran barrels for at 15 years. It really was about going back to the basics. For the longest time, he couldn't be around barrels... if he saw one he'd go crazy. Now he's the biggest sweetheart.. he'll do absolutely anything and still loves running, but thankfully only when I ask him to!

It took a couple of years of just working him out of the mindset of a barrel horse. When it's what they've done all their life it can take some time. I switched him to english and do a lot of flatwork, just practicing collection, transitions, etc. Ground poles/cavaletti help a lot, too! It keeps him focused on me, and that way he's given a job. It helped to get him thinking and trying to figure things out on his own (and it keeps him out of that barrel racing midset).

I don't mean this to offend anyone, but I feel like a lot of barrel horses become sort of a "machine" when they're only used for barrels. When my cousin bought my horse a few years back (she gave him to me), he acted like he didn't know what a treat was and he hated people petting him. He's still not the most affectionate horse, but he's warmed up to people a lot. It's just that his previous owners had pretty much raced him and put him up. He knew his job and that was it.

Anyway, congrats on the new horse! It might take some time to get her out of the mindset, but I bet it will be worth it!
    12-12-2010, 02:09 AM
Originally Posted by kevinshorses    
I would put a $10000 price tag on her and sell her to a barrel racer. If she was really running 17-18 second runs and she is anywhere near sound she is worth quite a bit. Put the square peg in the square hole.
I have to agree. For her to run the pattern by herself, she has to enjoy it. At 10, she is in the prime of her life. Do you intend on running her or do you want to turn her into a trail horse?
    12-15-2010, 12:28 AM
I didn't intend to run her (I'm a bit... big for that. ). My cousin is wanting to now, but as she is still rather young, I'm not sure I'd feel safe putting her on her to start. I have actually been offered what I thought was a rediculous ammount of money for her (nowhere close to 10,000 though). I really like the horse, and would love to keep her around; I would be fine with her running even, just don't like the fact she is kinda neurotic about it... (And... 10 GRAND?????)

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