won't get off my leg

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won't get off my leg

This is a discussion on won't get off my leg within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category

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    01-02-2012, 12:30 AM
Green Broke
won't get off my leg

I have been practicing for the up coming gymkhana event this month. My horse won't move off my leg around the barrel so she won't knock it down. She always veers towards it even if I apply a lot of pressure. Spurs make this horse..ticked off...you don't want to use spurs on her and prefer not too...so how do I keep her from going too close? I even tried going wider to compensate but still doesn't work. She gets her front around the barrels nicely but that back end wings out so we are going to be working on this.
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    01-02-2012, 12:47 AM
Green Broke
Well, I'd take time to do a little bit of schooling. Trot or lope up to the barrel, and when you feel her start to get on your leg, stop her, back a couple steps and continue on. I'd also work on sidepassing and getting those hindquarters under control, which would also help with her ignoring your leg.
    01-02-2012, 01:46 AM
I agree. Do slow work until your head spins. I know it gets boring sometimes, but its necessary. Work a lot on creating perfect circles around the barrel, and if she tries to dive in stop her and punish the shoulder by haunch turning her away from the barrel, then take her right back to it and give a couple nice, perfect circles. Use the inside rein to tip her nose and pick up her shoulder, and put your leg on her to bend her ripcage around it. And if you feel her blowing out the hip, stop and swat her hip to the inside.

My guess is Gidget gets excited when you turn, and that is why she is ignoring you. Bailey does the same thing. In this case I would do a lot of loping triangles around the pattern, taking her in at an angle like you're going to turn but then going past it. But every now and then still stopping and making her give you a pretty circle. This way she never knows whether she is turning them or not, and it will in turn relax her. A lot of just slow, calm work will really bring her head back down to where it should be, instead of in the clouds.

Even though some of that may not make sense in relevency, it's very important that to keep all these little things in mind because it directly effects your horses focuses and your performance. And I apologize if this is scattered I lost my train of thought about halfway through the typing, haha.
    01-02-2012, 02:14 AM
Green Broke
Thanks guys!

I have been doing slow work with her most of the time...I do still run them but at first we do trotting and I have been working with tipping her nose inward and she does it but it's that pesky behind!...it likes to cut corners. She does get excited. ....I will do what you mentioned tomorrow. I am getting a video tomorrow so I can show you what we do...doing it at a walk,trot,and canter. ....just on a side note. When I was cooling off my horse I was talking with a friend at the arena and I wasn't paying much attention but Gidget was doing part of the texas barrel pattern walking around the third barrel and going straight down :P
    01-02-2012, 08:04 AM
As you approach the barrel are you focusing on a spot about 4' off the barrel? If you look at the barrel that is where she will run. If she's too close on the approach either her shoulder but usually her hip will knock the barrel. The time to get her to move of your leg is when you are about mid way between barrels so she has a better approach. Is she mentally drifting toward the gate? I see that a lot with the number one barrel, horse swings wide, rider tries to redirect the front end and number two barrel goes over.
Gidget likes this.
    01-02-2012, 10:37 AM
I agree with Sorrel and Saddlebag.

Your horse is swinging his hips out because he is dropping his inside shoulder. I would do some work away from the barrels first. This exercise will teach your horse to move off of your inside leg and teach him to pick up his shoulder.

I would do counterbending on a circle. You can start on a big circle to help teach it, then decrease your circle size. If your on a circle to the left pick up your outside rein tip his nose to the outside of the circle turn your wrist like you are opening a door and lift, this makes the shoulder lift. Since you have his nose to the outside of the circle he is going to want to follow his nose and you are going to keep him from doing so by applying pressure on his rib with your outside right leg. As soon as he softens in the bridle and moves off of your leg to maintain his path on the large circle release your cues and remain on the circle.when I first teach this I exaggerate my cues, so my left leg is nowhere near the horses side and will even carry my weight to the inside of the circle to encourage him to step underneath me to stay balanced. Soon all you have to do is pickup that rein and he will watch for your cues from your weight/seat and legs. I find it easier to teach it from a trot as well.

Once he completely understands the counterbend then I would apply it to the barrel pattern just like Sorrelhorse said. I would trot up to the barrel, if he ignores your cues for your pocket pickup that inside rein and counterbend him away from the barrel to reinforce that inside leg cue. Counterbend him all the way around until you are in your original position, then complete your circle around the barrel. I wouldt leave that barrel until he does it correctly. Leaving the barrel to go to the next is his reward.

Also like Saddlebag said don't look at your barrel, look where you want to ride your horse.
    01-02-2012, 03:27 PM
I agree with the counterarc circles. Sorry if I repeat anything in that post, I'm in a hurry so I didn't read it.

When she dives and hits it, take her right back and stop her about a head past the parrel and counterarc away from it instead of making her return it.
    01-02-2012, 08:23 PM
I've dealt with a lot of horses that have done this as well. My mare always anticipates turning the first barrel and I have to do a lot of work to keep her off of it.

The main thing is, don't forget your basics! Don't always run your horse. You horse will become hot, hard to handle and it won't make barrel racing fun to deal with a horse like that. Plus it takes a lot of retraining to break their bad habits once they start.

With my mare, I when I practice, I run her maybe once or twice at a fast lope through the pattern at home. That's it. The rest of the time I walk, trot or slow lope her. Whenever she starts to dive into the barrel, I drop her down to a walk and don't let her run. I don't get worked up about it. She's a sensitive mare and feeds off my energy so if I get upset with her, she gets hyped up and won't listen.

I make sure my barrel horses know how to walk, trot, canter, rollback, stop instantly and sidepass too. Sidepassing is great for barrel and pole horses! It helps with their lead changes and creates a super balanced horse.

Anyways, when my mare starts to get heavy on the barrel, I simply go past it instead of turning. She wants to turn, so I don't let her. Say I'm turning right around the first barrel, she starts diving, I pick up my outside rein, put my inside leg on her and just go past it then do exercises to the left. Get her thinking about something other then that barrel. Then I'll set myself up for the first barrel again, and simply ride by it again. Eventually once she's balanced again, I'll let her turn around the barrel. That's her reward. That's what she wanted. :)
    01-03-2012, 02:17 AM
Green Broke
I did tons of trotting and walking today. I ran her more at the end but for the most part we did lots of walking and trotting. I was beginning to think maybe bumper spurs may help? I don't like the thought of using spurs as I have in the past and she is kinda nasty with them at times but these seem to be more gentle to the sides.I have to kick her and kick her hard to get her around that barrel without knocking it in. I did lots of circles, and stretches. She did good for the most part. She was kinda lazy though.
    01-03-2012, 10:04 AM
If your going to try spurs, definitely go for bumper spurs. Maybe just a little "umph" will get her moving.

When she's going around the barrel, is she lazy coming out of it? What's your explosion like coming out of the turn? Is she still lazy or does she do well. When my mare is lazy I carry a "popper crop", a crop that has a wide flat end so it makes a sound instead of leaving a welt on them like some over-unders will do.

If your having issues with laziness on that, I'll pop my horse just before reaching the barrel to push her into the pocket quicker, and then coming out of the barrel I pop her again to push her towards the next barrel. If I've riding a hard, fast pattern, I pop her between the barrels too.

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