How to start my pony on barrels? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 3 Old 10-12-2010, 02:12 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2010
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How to start my pony on barrels?

I recently purchased a palomino pony for my daughter to learn to ride on. I have not measured her but if I had to guess I would say she is close to 14 hh, I am about 5"10 and look rediculous on her but she can carry me just fine. I ride her more than my daughter does because i am trying to get her in better shape(too fat). We go trail riding at least 4-5 days a week and i am wanting to see if she can do barrel racing. What is the best way to start her out? I would assume that i just get her to walk the pattern for a while , then trot, then canter? I dont have an arena to do this in yet, is a pasture ok? I should have an arena to work her in this next spring hopefully? Please give me any suggestions you may have!!!
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post #2 of 3 Old 10-12-2010, 02:27 PM
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1) Pastures are tough because it'll tear the crap out of it. You also leave divets in around the barrels and it makes it harder on the horse around turns. On top of it all, it is slightly risky because you never know if there will be groundhog holes or anything. But as long as you beware of all of the able you should be fine; assuming your pasture is big enough for barrels.

2) Start by setting up the pattern and ground walking it to be sure there's nothing in the way that may hurt your pony. I'd suggest first walking each barrel. Then when she's getting around them with a nice turn (and ease) i'd trot each barrel. Do figure 8's around 2 barrels at the trot and practice getting close and riding her around each turn. MAKE SURE her hind end is doing work as well. After she's bending and moving around each invidual barrel try trotting the whole pattern as if you were running it for real. When she and you both are confident and balanced around the pattern, do a nice lopey canter and be sure she's making her turns and listening.

After all this, you can increase your pace. But keep in mind, speed is not everything. Running as fast as you can won't get you around the barrel if you're unbalanced and rushed. Also this training should not all come in one or two days. This is going to be hard on her and she should build up muscle and strength before she's ran through a true pattern :). Good luck with her!

Count My Strides - Shane, Bought 2-18-06, Mustang.
"I whispered to my horse, "i'm afraid of falling" and he whispered back, "i have wings".
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post #3 of 3 Old 10-12-2010, 02:32 PM
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Watertown, MN
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You should also be able to independently move her barrel, haunches, and shoulders. Make sure you can rate her speed easily too. There's a lot more to making a barrel horse than patterning them. The trainers I've spoken with are very careful not to over pattern their horses and burn them out on barrels.
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