Barrel Training

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Barrel Training

This is a discussion on Barrel Training within the Horse Training forums, part of the Training Horses category

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    01-03-2007, 11:22 AM
Barrel Training

Hi everyone. So here's the deal. I'm training a horse to run barrels. We're starting tomorrow because I'm figuring out the way things will work. The problem is that until we bought him he was never really "ridden". His owner would saddle him and then lead him around for his grandson.
We've done some work with him since we've had him but not a lot. But he's a smart horse and he's quick. My plan is to get out at least once a week, because I'm going to college full-time and working in a factory full-time so Friday mornings, bright and early are my only time really to work him. But I've got a basic idea of how things are going to work. So I'll give ya run-down and if anyone can give me any tips or pointers that would be great.

I'm gonne start out lunging him first thing to settle him down. Then I'm just going to ride him around in the pasture until we can work out who's in charge. Once we have that established I'm going to take him out and around our block a few times keeping him at a walk. After that we'll work on gaits, just keeping in line as to who's in charge. After we get through all this I'll start working him into the barrels.

So I'd really love any help that you guys could give me. Thanks all.
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    01-03-2007, 06:34 PM
Do you need help and tips with the barrels? Or have you done barrel racing before?

I can give you some tips on barrels, My old trainer use to barrel race and my friend was training in it for a long time (I saw her lessons) so if that is what your looking for I can try to help you.... :)
    01-04-2007, 01:01 AM
I've never done it. It was one of those things that I grew up watching. I've wanted to learn how to do it since I was little girl. So I'll take any help I can get.
    01-04-2007, 08:30 AM
Alright one of my biggest tips because this was done in EVERY lesson I had watched is to make sure That you keep your distance away from each barrel when you are going through it at a trot or walk, even canter. When you are actually running the barrel the horse will come much closer to the barrel..But keep your distance! Also make sure ALL of your circles are equal, you do not want to go around the barrel in a lopsided circle, this can be quite difficult, lets say though that your trotting around the barrel and its a bit lopsided, go around the barrel again so your horse knows oh this is not the same pattern oh and she wants me to do a better circle...This is what happened in every lesson! Really focus on keeping your horse good, my old trainer had a Fantastic Qh that on the spare time from being a Barrel horse was a kids lesson horse....What I mean is It would not be a good idea to gallop all the time, infact I would not even go gallop the barrels everyday, really mix it can do barrels everyday, but just walk and trot...Have fun! Oh, and always start at a walk in barrels, and end at a walk. START SLOW!!!
    01-04-2007, 09:36 AM
I had actually figured most of that out but thank you. It's great ot hear from someone else that I've got the right idea.
    01-11-2007, 11:24 AM
Since horses are a repetitive creature, the best way I know, is to walk the pattern for a couple of weeks, then trot for a couple, building up to a canter around them. By this time, the horse knows the pattern and should automatically do it.

We will (trainer and I) take the horse to the barrel, stop, backup, circle the barrel, and then go onto the next barrel. This teaches the horse to not overlook the barrel, or get too close to it. We do this first!! Before the above paragraph. Sometimes they will overshoot the barrel cause they aren't paying attention to it.

I've been doing barrels since I was 11 and i'm now 50. I've won some and i've lost some. But this is what I have done in the past, and will do in the future, when I start training tj in barrels.
    01-11-2007, 11:26 AM
Wow mommadog you have got experiance with barrels! :o
    01-11-2007, 02:33 PM
Thanx so much mommadog... I'll keep that in mind....
    01-14-2007, 11:47 PM
I'm in a youth rodeo and I recently won 2nd division youth for my district so I know quite a bit about barrels. I usually buy horses that have already been started on barrels and I finish them out (i'm planning to train my first one completely this summer) so I can't really tell you how to start them but I thought I'd give you a few tips on things I try to remember when I'm finishing them.
1. Do lots of circles. They really help a horse in the end. I had a horse I didn't do circles with when I first started and believe me I learned my lesson. Circles are designed to teach a horse the correct lead to be on for a turn. When they aren't on the correct lead, you can get by with it for a while but eventually his shoulder will dip in and he'll fall. With the lesson I learned, my horse wasn't on the the right lead, her shoulder dipped in like I said and she fell with me coming off the barrel. I almost broke my arm and collar bone doing that so circles are definitely important.
2. When you're on the pattern do what mommadog said. Start at a walk and work your way up. If a horse can't do the pattern walking there's no way he'll be able to do it trotting or loping.
3. Also, something I've always done if a horse is having problems getting to close to the barrels, is to watch where I look. When you go in for the turn look at where you're going to start turning, not at the barrel. In the past when I have looked at the barrel my horse has always turned into it and knocked it over. So just remember to be careful where you look.

I think that's all I have for now. Oh, and remember to sensitize your horse to keep him calm and ready for anything! If you have any other questions just post them and I'll do my best to answer them!
    01-15-2007, 05:55 PM
I start barrels by teaching horses to be responsive...never starting out with speed. I'd really work on stopping, backing up, circles. Getting the horse bendible and working off your cues is the key. Make sure you rate your speed and have a pocket around the barrel. Barrels isn't about speed. You can have someone who will run them so fast but knock down a barrel because they didn't turn the barrels right or you can have someone who takes their time and goes around each barrel perfectly and wins. Lots of serpentines, circles, leg yielding to get them aware of your legs and flexible. I agree with mommadog...get them to where they know the pattern. Walk for awhile trot for awhile. Galloping and speed should come last.

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