Barrel Racing Tips and Advice? - The Horse Forum
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  • 2 Post By MacabreMikolaj
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post #1 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 08:40 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: West Virginia
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Barrel Racing Tips and Advice?

Hey guys! I'm suppose to start practicing to barrel race this upcoming Spring. Can anyone give me some advice about it, please? Thanks! -Miranda
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post #2 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 10:43 PM
Join Date: Feb 2012
Location: Missouri
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1.) Trot A LOT(I mean barrel racers do intense riding!); do this for a few weeks..
2.) Stretch/flex your horse out before every ride, you wouldn't want to pull something(;
3.) Weave through poles at a trot to increase flexibility
4.) Practice the pattern at ALL gaits several times
5.) Start at a slow canter and then move up when you start REALLY running the pattern

As for actually competiting:
-Wear leg protection; splint boots, bell boots, polo wraps, whatever(I barrel race, too, but its more of a side thing and I use front splint boots
-I prefer a single rein because it helps with control
-Lean up on his/her neck to gain speed

Hope I helped (:
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post #3 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 10:51 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: Aug 2011
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First, get your horse working in all gaits in a snaffle bit. Make sure you can move his hips in and out, same with his shoulders. You must be able to collect him up as well. Do a lot of work with:
-Long trotting
-Circles (w/t/l)
-Serpentines (w/t/l)
-Lead Changes
-Being nice and soft and light in the mouth

And then, it comes to pattern work. When you trot, make sure your turns at least a few feet away from the barrel, work on rate and really driving out of the turn.

There are a ton of useful videos on youtube.
Personally, I like some of Fallon Taylors videos.

Last edited by QHriderKE; 02-26-2012 at 10:57 PM.
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post #4 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 10:54 PM
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Let your horse be a horse. You don't have to do the pattern every single day. Do something different. Go outside of the arena and go on a trail. You want your horse to be kept as fresh as possible.

Also, hang on!
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post #5 of 7 Old 02-26-2012, 11:08 PM
Green Broke
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Okay, I'm not trying to knock Kaley, but some of that is very wrong..

First, it would be helpful with a little more information about yourself and your horse. Has your horse ever ran barrels? Is this your first time? How much experience as a rider do you have? How serious are you wanting to get with running and are you wanting to seriously compete?

We can help a lot more with more information about the situation..

Now for the advice part, THE single most important thing when training for barrels is to S-L-O-W...Very, very slow.. Don't stretch your horse before warming up first, that can cause you to pull or strain something in your horse. Support boots and other equipment are all about personal preference and what's best for each individual horse..I'll get more into that when I know more about your situation..You don't need to just start at a canter and expect to jump right in feet first and pick it up. It takes tons of practice and perfecting everything at a walk, then a trot, then a lope..months after you start learning the ropes you can look into adding speed. You, as a rider, have to understand all of the mechanics and necessary placements of body weight, seat, hands, feet, where you look when turning the barrel, and what you have to do to ensure a nice setup for a run on your horse..It's also best to start out with an already trained and seasoned horse if possible..Those horses already know their job and can teach you without you worrying about getting frustrated trying to learn everything yourself and teach your horse...It's not an over night learned skill..I would definitely start with lessons and a coach to guide you in the right direction and make sure you are set up nice to have a successful future in barrel racing..

Good exercises you can do with your horse are lots of slow work, flex and release work, bending workouts, setting up and turning workouts, working on side passing and leg pressures..Most of these workouts can be carried out with a few barrels, cones, poles, or anything you can move around that can be lying around your house. You don't want to constantly to barrel work, a horse will become sour and start to hate their job causing you both problems. You want to keep workouts fun and different, keep your horse moving and constantly thinking, keep your horse soft and responsive to you. Good ways to keep your horse in shape without working barrels can be slow work, long trotting, and things like trail always want to change things up, keep challenging your horse....I will only work my horses on barrels once or twice a week at most, and I NEVER run at home. I want my horses to know that it's not always about speed and running, we work on rate and keeping flexing and soft in the mouth... We do lots of trail riding also. I don't want my horses to always associate riding with work, it needs to be fun and a good experience for both of us..and last but not least, always end on a good note, set small goals for yourself, enjoy those small goals when you reach them and know that focus, enjoying yourself, and being a "team" with your horse is worth more than winning and having the fastest time...I would rather enjoy myself and have pretty, clean patterns than be everywhere, whipping my horse, blowing turns and win..

I can help more when I know you more as a rider and what your plans are for your future in this awesome sport!

I am Sparkly Meanie Doodie Head and I approve this message!

Last edited by DrumRunner; 02-26-2012 at 11:14 PM.
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post #6 of 7 Old 02-28-2012, 11:00 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks guys! Everybody helped a lot. :)
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post #7 of 7 Old 02-28-2012, 12:37 PM
Green Broke
Join Date: May 2009
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I think the single most important thing to remember is that much like jumping being Dressage with obstacles, barrel racing is reining with barrels. The best barrel horses have a fairly solid reining foundation - being able to competently do a reining pattern with lead changes, stops and spins. Why? Because if your horse can do this, then your training is already 3/4 over. Your horse already listens to your legs, your seat, your aids. Adding barrels is nothing.

I think the absolute worst thing you can do is train your horse to "memorize" the pattern. They should never be running on auto-pilot, that means knocked over barrels because they're cutting pockets because they don't listen to your legs or seat. Competitive barrel racers are not chasing cans every day - that horse is lucky if they see that pattern once a week. The pattern is the least important thing about barrel racing, which is the number one biggest mistake novice barrel racers make. Your horse should be listening to YOU at all times, supple and precise, and that's what wins races.

Practically ever single barrel racing wreck I see is 100% the rider's fault - lack of proper training, the horse CHARGING the barrels and the riders completely dropping them right before the barrel and putting them straight into the ground. There's a reason you VERY rarely ever see those major accidents at National level barrel racing.

Best of luck!

I hope God tells her to smash her computer with a sledgehammer.

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