05-25-2013, 09:18 PM
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I can give some tips for halter breaking and a few ground training tips but I know nothing about barrel racing so I'll leave that alone.
For halter breaking I use two different methods depending on if the horse is unhandled and 'wild' (not mustang wild) or if they are friendly.
If they are wild I start off in a round pen and do a couple days of just sitting with them to see if they get curious. I would keep them by them self and bring them hay/grass and water a couple times a day so they learn that you are their provider.
If they get curious when I am sitting in their pen I'll proceed with them like I would with a fairly tame colt. If they will have nothing to do with you then I would get out a lariat.
If you have never worked with an unhandled horse before get a trainer to help you. An unhandled horse can be very dangerous on a rope, they are scared and if you get in the wrong place at the wrong time, you are in serious trouble.
I will throw (takes a couple tries for me, I'm not a roper) the rope on the horse and let themselves play out a bit feeling the rope and so they aren't freaking out too bad then I start working my way up to them. I work in a way (borrowing Monty Robert's technique, watch Monty Roberts, The Man who Listens to Horses) that the horse is learning to to yield to the pressure from side to side and a little bit forward. The first time I get them so I can pet them a bit on the neck and am fairly safe in removing the rope.
I would continue with this every day. The horse will get more and more comfortable with you working with it.
You can get it leading pretty good in a week with just a rope on it's neck. By that time you should be able to pet head, neck, shoulders, and part of the back, on both sides. Then I would put on a halter and continue with being able to pet the whole body. Another thing to work on, walk up and halter the horse, rub a bit, take halter off... repeat at least three times. Maybe doing this once a week. It's a good exercise for creating a easy to catch horse. Remember to give your horse one day off every week or every two weeks. Horses need that down time to think through everything and be able to just chill and be a horse.
If the horse is already fairly tame and you can walk up to it and pet it, I skip the roping part and just put a halter on and proceed from there. I always start with yielding from side to side, releasing at the slightest give. I like to know that I have a bit of control over those feet.
That is my general halter breaking routine. I am curious to see what others think of it. I am always looking for new and better training techniques.