Originally Posted by beau159
The #1 tip to starting a barrel horse: GO SLOW
BarrelRacingLvr gave you excellent advice. It takes about 2 years to train a finished barrel horse. It's much more than just racing around the 3 cans as fast as you can, whippin' and spurrin' the whole way.
I really, really question this person who "used to run pro" who is giving you advice. Because first of all, you should be worrying about leads. It is one of the fundamentals that your horse should know (simple and flying lead changes) before you even start pattern work. How are you going to cue the horse to be on the proper lead for their barrel approach and pocket? They need guidance and they need to learn. Not that you'd ever gallop the barrel pattern in the first few months of training anyway...... You should only be walking and trotting during that time because it takes that long to pattern them.
I would suggest you start reading up books and watching DVD's by the real pro's who have accomplished great things in the barrel racing world. Of course, it's best if you can have a hands-on trainer to help you, but resources are good too. Sherry Cervi, Martha Josey, Dena Kirkpatrick, Charmayne James, Ed and Marth Wright, etc are just a few names you should watch for. Some of them also have free YouTube videos.
Either way, don't even think about getting your horse to qualify you for finals in only 5 months. It isn't going to happen. And if you try to make it happen, you are going to end up with a sour horse with terrible bad habits and an awful pattern. It's easy for an experienced barrel racing to pick out a horse that was pushed too fast and too soon on the barrel pattern. So just don't do it.
It's fine to haul him places this summer to practice your progress with exhibition runs, but don't expect to compete. It's just not realistic.
I have read a number of books, Charmayne James included.
I understand he's not going to be a finished barrel horse, that's not what I'm expecting.
*Please note: the pattern I run on at home is SMALL. So a 18sec run on it isnt unrealistic at all*
Im not expecting to be amazing; I'd just like to have a decent run.
I've had TWO pros tell me not to worry about leads right now.