Since we've got a double post here, that means I can post a double answer, right?
Straight from the barrel racing forum:
My 3 year old I started 3 weeks ago on barrels is not turning and bracing against me when I cue her and it only on first barrel.
She has only been on the pattern 3 weeks
. That's a drop in a bucket. You should not
be doing anything more than a walk or slow trot, because she is not ready to be doing anything faster.
She's not turning because she's not patterned yet.
She not turning because you haven't trained her for it yet.
She's bracing against you because you are pushing her too fast too soon.
She's bracing because she's not patterned yet.
Do you see what I am getting at here? She needs to be broke, broke, broke to ride first
before you ever set her on a barrel pattern. You can learn the fundamentals for the barrels away from the pattern first, before you introduce it.
You are doing nothing but creating bad habits at this point, by pushing her too fast too soon.
She bends effortlessly both directions so I know it's not hurting her or stiffness, but even when I'm walking when I go to the first barrel she braces against me and I use leg,seat, ect. And have a pocket
How do you know she is not hurting or stiff? Have you taken her to the vet? The chiro? The dentist? The farrier? Does your tack fit properly?
Horses have extremely high pain tolerances and often you don't even know they are hurting, until a trained professional catches it. And then you see the amazing difference afterward, because the horse truly was hurting somewhere.
Clearly if she is still bracing against you when you are using your leg and seat, that you have not taken the time to train her properly first
. (Remember when I said she has got to be broke, broke, broke first?) It's a fundamental to move away from pressure and give to your leg and body aides and if she can't do it on the barrel pattern, you have got to take the responsibility to actually train her to do it first.
She will be running futurist and that has to be under 5 years old. So I run the BIG futurity race when she is 5 . I run to the right bc the left turns for her are better.
So if she is barely turning 4 years old at this point, you've got a whole year and a half to prepare for the DERBY, since derbies are for 5-year-olds in the fall (typically). And futurities are for 4-year-olds.
Nothing wrong with a horse being better in one direction than the other (most humans are better at writing with their right hand than left hand, right?). However, that should make it all the more important to work on her right side because that first barrel is the money barrel and it's still got to be good. Fundamentals!!!
She will be running some big futurity barrel races when she hits 4 . So she has to be on it. I trained her when she turned to and I just started barrels on her and she is 3 3/4 now so she has had PLENTY of that work.
(Or wait now ........ are you going to do a futurity or derby? There's a whole year difference. Different information in your last post.)
But besides, no she doesn't need to be on the pattern now.
You need to get her broke first. And be able to stop at any gait with a soft mouth, back up any distance, sidepass, turn on the fore or turn on the haunches, move at a relaxed pace at all gaits (walk, trot, canter), do flying lead changes, neck rein, rollbacks, etc. She needs to be BROKE.
The barrel pattern will be a breeze once she's broke because she has her fundamentals.
You can work on turns, circles, spirals, rollbacks, collection, rate etc away from the pattern. If you try to train her to ride while doing the pattern, you'll do nothing but sour her and make her resent it, because you'll be doing the pattern over and over and over.
She is doing her first local show this weekend.
You've only had her on the barrel pattern for 3 weeks (which you really shouldn't at all at this point, as we've already established) and now you are taking her to compete in the show?
1) I hope you mis-wrote that and you are only taking her to exhibition and get used to a show environment
2) It is against futurity and derby rules. You cannot enter in any event at any level that is for compeition. Exhibitions only.
Train this horse first. Period.
Forget about the barrels for now. There's still lots of time for that.
There's nothing wrong with doing futurities or derbies, if it is done correctly and the horse is not soured, physcially damaged (joints, tendons, etc), or ruined.