Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj
My apologies, I should have been more clear. When I say "patterned", I mean running the pattern. Flat schooling should incorporate the barrels at various levels as schooling devices to teach your horse not to anticipate.
One thing I would like to add, You are trying your horse to the left and to the right. Which seems reasonable but you need to figure out what lead he is best on the pattern and stick to it. I very very rarely had a horse start to the left. The only time that would happen was if he was constantly switching leads when we were running the pattern taking up time I always started a horse on the right and after "flat schooling" for a couple months and a few runs if he was changing leads the whole time I would switch it up but basically start over from scratch on the flat work. I have never owned a horse that did very well when going to the left first. It resulted in wide last barrel and sometimes blowing the second barrel. Switching back and forth between the two different ways is confusing to a horse and although in your mind you say well its just starting on a different side it is not at all the same especially if you are running the horse....