So a horse I've been working with has come a long way - she's a little bity buckskin with a ton of speed. Her owner thinks she wants to try her for barrels, and has asked me to work with her on it. I usually work with western pleasure and reining horses, so I feel a bit out of my depth! We have a good, well groomed and deep arena, and a set of barrels. My question is : how do you start a horse for barrels? I am kind of stuck as to how to start/proceed. She also wants to try poles and keyhole racing.
My only concern besides how to start is that she is small. About 14hh. She's a quarter horse but she's finer boned than some. I know Arabians and other 'light boned' horses do well at barrel racing and gaming, but I want to get her strong and also protect her for the motions of the sport. Anything I can do as a precaution to help her out? Splint boots/polo wraps? Certain exercises? Thanks for any advice!!