Turning Tighter - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 09-25-2007, 01:21 PM Thread Starter
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Turning Tighter

I have a great horse who has the speed down for barrel racing but as soon as we get to the barrels he stops and slowly goes around the turns. I have tried everything to make him whip around them but nothing seems to be working does anyone have any ideas?
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post #2 of 8 Old 09-25-2007, 10:04 PM
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I don't know how experienced you are in this so I may give some tips that are pretty stupid. I'm not that experienced in it either, but maybe I can help.

Leads are really a huge thing, and that is what I am thinking. You need to always be in the correct lead and be able to change leads, otherwise your horse with wallow through the turns instead of turning smoothly and swiftly.

You said your horse had the "speed". This may be a key factor in barrel racing, but like anything else, you need to start slow. Start from a walk and walk the pattern. Work on leg cues and getting your horse to bend into the barrels with a natural arc. Then work on a trot- you need to get your horse moving WITH you and you need to be sure your horse understands your cues- make them clear. If your horse understands cues and can FEEL of you, then you can get him to do most anything.

Start slow, work your way up. Concentrate on the arc of his body and leads.
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post #3 of 8 Old 09-25-2007, 11:38 PM Thread Starter
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his lead changes are perfect and he is on the lead he is supposed to be going to every barrel. he knows the pattern inside outside upside downside. its just the turns but he also has a slightly longe back and i think that intrudes on the bending. He goes by my cues very well its just the turns he goes through them smoothly but he slows to like a walk i just dont get it.
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post #4 of 8 Old 09-26-2007, 07:03 AM
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Okay, leads, check.

I can understand how he may know the pattern by heart- we are not working on the pattern by walking it. You are working on his paticular problems, which happens to be his turns. In order to get him to turn correctly, you must approach this so that he can understand and retain the information you are giving him. It's kind of like playing an instrument- say you know a piece of music but then you try to play it really fast. It's hard because you can't get everything right really fast. And you try to fix it at high speeds, but it gets really confusing. Same for your horse.

Some horses just don't make great barrel horses. But if you are intent on working with him, then you need to slow down. Walk him around the pattern and observe the difference in his turns. See what he does different. With his feet, with his overall body, his head. Have somebody watch him and let them tell you what they see different at a walk than at a fast canter. After that, you have your goal- to get him to achieve those maneuvers at fast speeds. Start at a trot, slow lope, faster lope, and then finally slow speeds. But don't rush it! Work slowly so that you don't confuse him.
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post #5 of 8 Old 09-26-2007, 11:36 PM
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You have to use both feet to get him to reach around the barrels.
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post #6 of 8 Old 09-27-2007, 07:50 PM
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Maybe you are unconciously throwing him off balance. Pay attention to see if you are leaning into the turn. You need to stay in the center of the horse.

Also, make sure your saddle fits him. The placement of the saddle is critical, and if it's too far forward it's going to block his shoulders, thus making it hard for him to turn. Find the edge of his scapula (shoulder) while at rest. Mark it with a piece of chalk. Then, while someone else holds him, pull his leg up and out in front (so you are holding his leg next to your hip) and slowly run your fingers along his scapula until you feel it "drop off" like the edge of a cliff. Mark that spot. This is where his maximum range of motion is with his scapula, and the first weight-bearing part of your saddle needs to go directly behind this spot to fully free up his shoulder.

You will notice that your saddle will dip down in front, making it down hill and putting pressure on his withers and shoulders. This is where shimming comes into play. You'll need to shim your saddle so that it's even. Feel free to PM me for further details on that.
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post #7 of 8 Old 09-28-2007, 08:01 AM
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make sure you do not pull back on the reins, sit deep in your saddle. Make sure to find your pocket first, you may not be giving him enough space to lope around. Technically it is a sit and spin.
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post #8 of 8 Old 09-28-2007, 07:25 PM Thread Starter
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he hits the pocket nicely he is starting to speed up a bit i worked with him today. he has always hit the pocket it was just the speed i adjusted his saddle and he seems to be doing alot better now.only time will tell
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