Help With Sudden First Barrel Issues
   

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Help With Sudden First Barrel Issues

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  • Barrel racing first barrel problems
  • Refusing to turn first barrel

 
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    07-12-2011, 01:20 AM
  #1
Started
Question Help With Sudden First Barrel Issues

Hey guys,

My BO doesn't have an account on here but he's impressed with all of the information I've learned on this forum. He asked me to post a few videos of his horse Zip to see if anyone can help out with solving what happened.

Background on Zippy:
-6yrs old going on 7
-started under saddle with very, very light work(walking for 20 mins or so) at 2 and a half but was then let to rest for a year because his knees were not set yet and my BO didn't want to create any issues.
- When his knees set my BO started more "proper" training but still nothing too heavy.
-Last year was the first year my BO started to actually push Zippy at the shows and he did amazing. He's a great all around horse. He wanted to make sure Zip's training was fairly solid before he started competing him.

The problem:
---Out of nowhere Zippy started to, I guess you would call it, refuse the first barrel. He acts like he is scared of it, or rather scared of the pocket. He runs the pattern with a right, left, left, so his first turn is a right turn.

The Weird Thing:
-Any other time he has to turn right he does it beautifully.

Things have not changed at all for him though:
- He's been coming to these show grounds and working in this arena for 3 and a half years (first 2 were walk, trot just to get him used to it.) This year he started off great and out of nowhere he changed.
- His bit is the same (It's a hack combo with a smooth, jointed mouthpiece. But my BO is willing to change it if anyone has any suggestions)
- My BO uses spurs but they are bumper spurs that look like knuckles on a person's hands.
- My BO's riding has not changed since he started training him.

Zippy's Cues:
-Inside leg moves him over to get him to bend around the barrel
-Outside leg drives him out of the pocket
-Still learning how to neck rein, he's a ton better than he used to be.
(Zippy is a TON of leg)

What We Thought It Might Be:
- Teeth - nope had the dentist out in March to do teeth but when Zippy started acting up we had him out again in the beginning of June to check and his teeth are fine.
- Back- another negative- had the chiropractor out and they said Zippy was fine.
- Feet- Nope farrier comes out on a strict 6 week schedule.
- Issues with his legs - The vet took some Xrays and cleared him.

So basically after spending a whole lot of money they come to find that Zip is "healthy as a horse" (pun intended)

What We've Been Working On At Home:

***We do not run barrels all the time. We show with barrels once a week. We work on barrels lightly at home.***

- At home trotting the pattern twice a week. On the second day after trotting we lope it once or twice. MAXIMUM that we do...first day- 4 times trotting the pattern with about 15 minutes between each time. Second day- 2 times trotting with about 15 minutes between each and once or twice loping with about 10 minutes in between. That is all we do with barrels for Zippy in a week.

- We walk around the half mile track once, trot once, lope once, then trot once again, then walk twice as a cool down.

- We do bending at a walk excerises around 1 barrel in the middle of the round pen.

-We do figure 8's and serpantines at a walk, trot, and a lope.

-And we go on a trail ride once in a while.

**Mind you not all of this is done is one day it is spread out over the course of the week. 2 days of the week he is not working, those days are the day before and after a show. And of course since we don't have an indoor it is all weather permitting.

My BO is going to be working late for the time being so I will be working Zippy. I have no idea how long my BO will be working late but it's the least I can do for him after all he's done for me.

Here are some videos:

This is how Zippy ran the pattern a few weeks before he started acting up at the first barrel.(Sorry for some reason there is no sound and my videographer cut off too early grr)


This is what Zippy has been doing since the middle/end of May.
(My BO always makes him go back and walk around the barrel so he's not getting away with it.)(And before you think it is because of the night shows, it's not he's used to running at night)

This is a poles run from the same night...it shows that he can turn to the right with no problems.(Sorry my camera battery died towards the end)


This has become a bad habit of Zip's now. And as we all know bad habits are really hard to break.

Does anyone have any ideas as to what we can do to maybe stop him from doing this? Any exercises that may help? Input would be great.

I will be going out to work with him on Wednesday because they are predicting a storm for tomorrow, so any ideas I get between now and then would be very helpful.

Also, please no critique on riding, this is the Training Thread not the Critique Thread. Insightful ideas to change things are very welcome (my BO said if he has to change his riding, he is all for it) but going off on a tyrant of how something is so "howrible" and people are "mean to the pwetty paint poneh" will be ignored.

Thanks in advance. If you have any questions feel free to ask. I have more video footage if anyone needs to see more. He is willing to change anything to get Zip to stop.
     
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    07-12-2011, 01:36 AM
  #2
Banned
I am not 100% sure I would rule out a pain issue. He really resists that turn at speed. You can see it even in his poles run. He pops his head up going to the right but keeps on going. Here is what I would do....or at least something you could try

Take the physical barrel out of the picture. At this point in his training, he should know that he is expected to turn right there. If it is the barrel that is spooking him or if it is a mind block, he should just make the right turn and head on over to the left. Even try varying it a bit. Take that turn a few paces before you usually would or a few paces after. Switch it up. Make him think.

Try going left right right. I run left right right because I am severely right hand dominant and it is better to get my crap turn out of the way first and make up for it later.

As far as every day activities, try turnabouts on him. Pick a point on a straight away, lope to it and do a 360 turn and keep loping. Lope another 15 strides and do a 180 and trot home.

As far as pain issues go, have you tried massage? A Chiro can help with bones problems but a massage tech will help with muscle problems. He doesn't look like an uptight barrel horse and is actually very very nice. A massage is cheaper and a good therapist will tell you straight up if there is nothing there. Even your backyard QH has a knot here or there.

Is he shod? Maybe he caught a hot nail in that foot?

I wish you and your BO the best of luck with him. He is sure a cute boy with a good solid foundation on him.
     
    07-12-2011, 01:56 AM
  #3
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by corinowalk    
I am not 100% sure I would rule out a pain issue. He really resists that turn at speed. You can see it even in his poles run. He pops his head up going to the right but keeps on going. Here is what I would do....or at least something you could try

Take the physical barrel out of the picture. At this point in his training, he should know that he is expected to turn right there. If it is the barrel that is spooking him or if it is a mind block, he should just make the right turn and head on over to the left. Even try varying it a bit. Take that turn a few paces before you usually would or a few paces after. Switch it up. Make him think.

Try going left right right. I run left right right because I am severely right hand dominant and it is better to get my crap turn out of the way first and make up for it later.

As far as every day activities, try turnabouts on him. Pick a point on a straight away, lope to it and do a 360 turn and keep loping. Lope another 15 strides and do a 180 and trot home.

As far as pain issues go, have you tried massage? A Chiro can help with bones problems but a massage tech will help with muscle problems. He doesn't look like an uptight barrel horse and is actually very very nice. A massage is cheaper and a good therapist will tell you straight up if there is nothing there. Even your backyard QH has a knot here or there.

Is he shod? Maybe he caught a hot nail in that foot?

I wish you and your BO the best of luck with him. He is sure a cute boy with a good solid foundation on him.
Thanks for your response!

He has tried running him left, right, right. He turned the first barrel beautifully then blew out again at the first right turn the second right turn he did beautifully. I believe I have the video I'll be able to get that up in the morning.

He does not have shoes. And no we have not tried massage therapy. That's a really good idea. I'm going to look up a few in our area tomorrow and tell my BO. He said he's willing to do anything. Zip is his pride and joy.

I'll definitely take the barrel away and just work on turning. The turnabout exercise sounds like a great idea.

Also the people who own our showgrounds have allowed us to bring Zip over to work in the arena if we want to see if it is the arena itself that may be spooking him for some reason.

**Also FORGOT TO MENTION he turns the right barrel perfectly at home. Sorry about that it's late/early here (2am)

**If anyone wants I can get video of me working Zippy on Wednesday so you can see how he is at home.
     
    07-12-2011, 01:58 AM
  #4
Banned
Looks like the typical symptom of a blown-up horse. But with the workout regimen you posted, that just doesn't fit...

Like Cori, I'm not sure I'd be so quick to discount pain. Did the vet actually do flexion tests, or just X-rays? Could be a soft tissue problem, too, which of course would not show up on films.

If it IS a training issue, I would say it stems from how strung out he is. He needs to learn to collect, rather than riding all strung out. There's no way to control him and get him to set and rate in his current state.

Back to slow work, and off the barrels. Get him to round his back and drop his head. I'd ditch the combo bit and switch to a draw, at least for now. Get a nice stop, rate, and sit put in place. When you DO go back to barrels, make him stop, back, and wait and the entry of each pocket. Set him up correctly, with lateral flexion, nose tipped in, etc. Ask him to 'whoa'--if he doesn't sit, stop him immediately and make him back before allowing him to turn. He needs to coil before springing at the barrel.

Also, temporarily, I'd see what switching him to a left pattern would do. Though I suspect that after a short time he'd go back to refusing to turn the second...
     
    07-12-2011, 02:26 AM
  #5
Started
Quote:
Originally Posted by bubba13    
Looks like the typical symptom of a blown-up horse. But with the workout regimen you posted, that just doesn't fit...

Like Cori, I'm not sure I'd be so quick to discount pain. Did the vet actually do flexion tests, or just X-rays? Could be a soft tissue problem, too, which of course would not show up on films.

If it IS a training issue, I would say it stems from how strung out he is. He needs to learn to collect, rather than riding all strung out. There's no way to control him and get him to set and rate in his current state.

Back to slow work, and off the barrels. Get him to round his back and drop his head. I'd ditch the combo bit and switch to a draw, at least for now. Get a nice stop, rate, and sit put in place. When you DO go back to barrels, make him stop, back, and wait and the entry of each pocket. Set him up correctly, with lateral flexion, nose tipped in, etc. Ask him to 'whoa'--if he doesn't sit, stop him immediately and make him back before allowing him to turn. He needs to coil before springing at the barrel.

Also, temporarily, I'd see what switching him to a left pattern would do. Though I suspect that after a short time he'd go back to refusing to turn the second...
That is his workout schedule, weather permitting, but I really doubt that missing a day or two once in a while would cause him to behave like this.

Yup the vet did flexion, X-rays, blood tests, they had this horse checked for nearly everything under the sun. Everything turned up fine.

From both of these responses we are definitely going to be taking the barrels out of the equation for now. Back to the basics of collection for Zipster. We have a draw bit so I'll work him in that on wednesday and see how it goes. I'll tape it then post it so you can see how he reacts to it.
We'll start working on this stuff on Wednesday. I'm going to come up with a new schedule for Zip on what we're going to work on each day from now on.

Yeah when he ran Zip the other way he still blew away from that same barrel but then turned the third one to the right beautifully. I'll post that video tomorrow.

Thanks for the responses so far, they're really helpful. I'm going to be typing everything up and printing it out for my BO soon.
     
    07-12-2011, 02:28 AM
  #6
Banned
Has anyone else tried to ride him (particularly a very experienced, successful barrel racer) and did he do the same thing for them?
     
    07-12-2011, 02:55 AM
  #7
Trained
Personally, I would pop him into a snaffle or very short shanked curb and two-hand him for a while. He is all over the place with his leads and bend, dis-regarding the barrel issue, I would want to tidy that up. As Bubba said, I would be doing lots of stopping before the pocket and getting him shaped correctly before making the turn.

Out of curiosity - What would he do if you turned left at the second barrel? As in turn it the same way as the first barrel - Stuffs the pattern, but it would be interesting to see whether it is the direction, or just the second turn in general that is the issue.
     
    07-12-2011, 03:00 AM
  #8
Doe
Weanling
Unfortunately he isn't actually bending. Instead he is bunnying around the poles.
Watch the video again. Focus solely on his hind feet. See how they move?

I'm not critiquing but also the rider isn't neutral. His body is sending the horse straight when his hands are saying to turn. Also his legs are restricting the scapula of the horse.

I quite agree this horse hollowing will not help the flexion.
     
    07-12-2011, 11:11 AM
  #9
Yearling
Perhaps you can backpedal a bit - go to doing serpentines at a trot and lope between two barrels. Back to some basics.
     
    07-12-2011, 02:11 PM
  #10
Started
Quote:
Has anyone else tried to ride him (particularly a very experienced, successful barrel racer) and did he do the same thing for them?
Yeah we've had someone who's been running barrels professionally for years, since my BO was younger, run him and no matter which direction she took him he turned that same right barrel with issues but went on to do the following 2 barrels fine. We would have her helping us unfortunately she moved to OK in June.

Quote:
Personally, I would pop him into a snaffle or very short shanked curb and two-hand him for a while. He is all over the place with his leads and bend, dis-regarding the barrel issue, I would want to tidy that up. As Bubba said, I would be doing lots of stopping before the pocket and getting him shaped correctly before making the turn.

Out of curiosity - What would he do if you turned left at the second barrel? As in turn it the same way as the first barrel - Stuffs the pattern, but it would be interesting to see whether it is the direction, or just the second turn in general that is the issue.
That might be a good idea WS. Since the pattern's already being botched it really couldn't hurt any. I've been wanting to work him in a full cheek for a while so I guess we could try that.

Quote:
Unfortunately he isn't actually bending. Instead he is bunnying around the poles.
Watch the video again. Focus solely on his hind feet. See how they move? I'm not critiquing but also the rider isn't neutral. His body is sending the horse straight when his hands are saying to turn. Also his legs are restricting the scapula of the horse.
I quite agree this horse hollowing will not help the flexion.
Thanks I'll bring it up to him. So you're saying he needs to lean into the weave more instead of just relying on the reins to move Zippy over?

Quote:
Perhaps you can backpedal a bit - go to doing serpentines at a trot and lope between two barrels. Back to some basics.
Backpedalling is now the plan....just without barrels for a little while. We're going to do as Bubba says and get a good stop and rate, and as she says to get him to coil before he springs at the barrel. Because I have noticed when he runs he's barely...if at all sometimes....rating before a turn.

Anything else is gladly still welcome This is all wonderful advice so far, I can't wait to get started.

Does anyone need more videos? If you do please don't hesitate to ask...I want this to be a thorough as possible.
     

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