Why would the horse be in pain at a show but not at home? Have you done barrels at home since then? Did he buck?
It sounds like excitement to me. Your body position is most likely different in the saddle during barrels than pleasure.
My 5 yr will buck and act like a wild guy in the field when he is happy and relaxed and fresh. Maybe your horse is just unable to control the excitement at the full blown out excitement of barrels? Especially if you are beyond the intitial training phase and his confidence is up?
I don't really know! It seems like he runs them fine at home and even at other fun days/rodeos. 3 weeks ago at a fun day we went to, he ran the pattern perfect. No offering to buck, and he ran as hard as he always does. He has only acted out during a barrel run one other time, and that was 2 years ago at this same arena (maybe just a coincidence?).
There is a big different in running at home and running at a show. The environment and stress level is completely different and it can completely change the horse's attitude. They also give more at a show performance wise than they would at home..Meaning the horse is probably running harder which can definitely cause pain to flare at a show rather than at home.
OP, have you ever had your horse adjusted? It can do wonders, especially for a horse that age. It just wouldn't hurt to have the vet check and do a lameness exam. There just can be so many things that trigger this behavior that it's best to cover all bases before just saying it's a behavioral or something related to that. A horse can't verbally tell you when something's wrong so they show you, and most of the time when it's pain related the "showing you" is through bucking, rearing, or these type of behaviors. It can't just be ruled out as a horse acting out, especially if the horse is just now developing this problem.
I completely agree! I get excited, he gets excited, people are cheering, clapping, there's so much more stimulation that would make him push himself harder. I just find it weird that he does it here
and not at other fun days and local rodeos in different places.
No, I have never had him adjusted. I'm all for it, but ultimately my parents make the decisions. If they agree that it's what he needs, I'm sure they'll let me go through with it. I'd never want to have my guy in pain!