Is it Bloodlines, training, or heart that makes a barrel horse - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 2 Old 03-20-2012, 05:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Jun 2011
Location: Wyoming
Posts: 19
• Horses: 1
Is it Bloodlines, training, or heart that makes a barrel horse

Before you say ALL, hear me out. I grew up around horses but never on a rich horse farm. Our horses were quarter horses that were ranch horses. I always competed in the town shows and I won several ribbons, but... it's not the same. I had a colt 3 years ago. He is just over 14h (not fully grown, remember) and he is very agile. But he didn't come from lines and lines of pro horses. I don't want to travel all over the U.S to compete, I'm just wondering if it's possible to train a horse to a high level of competing? He has an attitude that's for sure. If a horse has ever been stuck up it's him, he is so competitive in everything already. So with lots of work exactly how possible is it to have him be a great competitor? He is a quarter/paint cross, this is the front of his body if you can determine based on that.
Forgot that I don't want to go pro, I want a college competing horse. But college is just under pro so some of those people have horses worth more than my house.

I didn't know which section this fit in since my horse still isn't broken, I'll put it in western and perhaps showmanship as well.
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post #2 of 2 Old 03-20-2012, 05:48 PM
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Oklahoma
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Everything has a genetic component to it.

Your best prospects are going to be bred to do the job or event you want them to do. Speed, agility and a good work ethic are ALL very genetic.

They are going to have the conformation to do the job you want them to do.

They are still going to have to have proper training. The better the training and conditioning they get the better they will do.

They are still going to have to have 'heart' and try, a good work ethic and a willing disposition -- also all with a big genetic component.

Can horses that are not bred to do something still be good at it. Sure. Once in a while you find one. But the odds are waaaay against finding one that can beat the horses that have all of the above. The more breeding is specialized toward a specific event, the better these horses have gotten. Cutting horses that won the World a couple of decades back would not even make the finals in a big event now. Same is true for barrel racing, reining, jumping, etc. The level of competition nowadays is light years above what it was when I started training and showing.

Look at it this way. There is probably a Beagle somewhere that would learn to work and herd sheep or cattle. But do you think it would easy to find one that could beat a Border Collie? Not real likely and you could go through 100 looking for one that would herd at all. It would probably be about as easy to get a bird dog to tree a coon.

To get a horse with the athleticism and pure speed to run the barrels at a good level (something above 3D) you need a horse with natural speed, agility and the desire to run and use that speed. It is just a lot easier and a lot more successful results come from a horse that is bred for the job.

In the 50+ years that I have trained horses, the biggest single improvement I have seen in performance has come from the breeding of better prospects. Right behind that comes the better training techniques that have come from young trainers apprenticing to World Champion trainers instead of trying to invert it over and figure it all out.

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