07-13-2009, 10:17 AM
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I have a two year old stud that I am hoping to run futurity barrels with.
That said, he has less than 15 rides on him with a whopping 60 to 80 min. Total saddle time. 2 min. Of that was at the trot and 1 min. At a lope.
Next year I will start working on putting some handle miles on him. He will be three. Sessions will primarily be walk & trot and not to exceed 60 min. Each. That winter I will start slow work on barrels.
When he nears four, I will start easing him into exhibitions to get him use to sight, sounds, and different ground.
He will not actually RUN a barrel pattern until he is 4. Everything up till then will be flex, whoa, transitions, handle, and <conditioning (at 3)>.
Any professional trainer worth their salt will tell you that your horse needs to be BROKE (aka been there, done that, almost able to ride him bridleless ) before you start pushing them in their career. Most physically rough futurities are for at least 3 yr olds and it is held in the fall/winter. Barrel futurities are 4 or 5 yr olds.
TB racers are the ones notorious for running babies at two and breaking them down by 5.
We are not trying to bash you (I get comments when I talk about riding my guy at two), but just want you to be aware of what should really be happening at this stage of your 2 yr old's training and the length of time a professional would take before actually (in your case) jumping a horse. Most jumpers (the horse) aren't in their prime until 10 yrs of age. That is when they are just getting going good.
Every thing before that is foundation work, primarily in the form of dressage training for handle and conditioning.
Control, control, control.
You want that horse to be so tuned and trained to feel every shift of your body and respond as if they are reading your mind. Barrel racers rate their horses three strides before the barrels, and jumpers count strides before, after and between jumps, which means you have to be able to adjust the length of your horses stride with a shift of your body. That doesn't come through going straight to taking jumps.
OK, going to quit now.