Here is Leo and I at a local race cantering the pattern.
IMG 1190 - YouTube
Sorry about the bad quality, and I usually wouldn't lean so forward in our first canter circle, I can feel when he is on the right lead but really wanted to double check that he was set up correct for this run.
We have been working on the barrel pattern since mid-June. This video is from July 27th (so about a month and a half). I usually only work him on the barrels once a week and just recently began asking for a canter through them (Other days we trail ride, ride dressage, breeze in the field or I work him in his western tack in my version of "reining" where I focuses on a lower head set with no contact and work on stops, backing and turn on haunches to an immediate canter - which I'm pretty sure has another name).
How do you think our turns look and what do you think we need to work on? I do lots of work in general outside of the barrels working on collection and such but what can I do more of in our slow barrel workouts? One thing I noticed he has done a few times (and which he does in the video) is take one trot step around the second and switch to the left lead. He switches back at the third barrel but is this something I am doing wrong or just a young horse figuring out his leads and balance? Today I worked him at home and cantered a few times through the pattern and he did not switch around the turn like this. He held his canter and was switching one or two strides out from the first barrel and then one or two out from the second barrel (to the wrong lead and then back to the correct for the third). Haha, makes me think he is just focusing on setting himself up and forgets he gets to go right again around the last barrel? He's a funny little guy. (He prefers his right lead and is much more balanced to the right in general). It also almost seems like he speeds up into his turns or maybe he is diving in? It doesn't really feel like that much when I am riding but I wonder if this could be a problem down the road when I add speed.
Also, I ride him one handed around the barrels in our trot practice but he was totally losing it and not able to turn in the canter when I tried this so I have been supporting him with two hands (mostly bumping him with the outside rien - is this ok? Today I practiced one handed in the canter and he was much better but I felt it was helpful to ride through with two hands correcting him then let him handle it more with one hand until he dove in or something, correct with two and go back to one when it is better...do you guys think this just going to confuse him?
I am pretty clueless as to how he is doing in the barrel department and if we are on track so I would love some input :)