Simple and Easy Exercises
Hello everyone! Again, I find myself needing your help! I board my horses a mile away from where I live. i can ride my scooter there, and walk, but my mom won't let me work my barrel horse when she isn't around. I can ride bareback at a walk and trot, and I can lunge him, but I am not allowed to use barrels as he starts to act crazy when he sees them. Are there any exercises I could use to build muscle without breaking a trot or using barrels? I already ride him up hills bareback, but I'm not sure what else I can do. He really needs for hindquarter muscle, and I would love to try any exercises that improve balance. I stretch him a lot, but unfortunately, stretching cannot build muscle or improve balance too much. Any ideas? I can use a single barrel in the arena, but as soon as he sees three barrels, my mom says it becomes unsafe and she can't imagine me on him without her watching (I've never fallen off of him, but she says there's a first time for everything.) Any help is awesome! Thanks!
You can do ground poles, circles, and serpentines.
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Lots and lots of trotting.. If you are able to go on a trail ride go for it but long trot the for as much of the time as you think your horse can handle. Trotting is the best exercise for a horse when it comes to keeping in shape and keeping their muscles toned. You should be able to go for longer distances as time goes on but long trotting is a fantastic idea.
You can work on your flexing, counter arches, side passing, lead changes..Just simple things that do end up playing a key part in actually running barrels.
Walking is good for building muscle, and trotting is excellent for balance. Doing circles on the side of a hill really helps, too.
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You could work on shoulder control. I find that helps a lot for the barrels and for your horse. Haunch turns, counter arc circles, rollbacks, and stuff like that. You could also do spirals and rollbacks on the fence at the walk and trot. What I do with Selena is I make big trot circles, then spiral down to a small circle then into a spin. I ask her to spin once then let her out to a bigger circle at the trot again. It should then translate into the lope when you get to it. I like it because it gets her shoulder moving. Later when your mom is there you can do it only use a barrel and just keep the circle, tighten it, then make it bigger again.
If you want to make hindquarter muscles, you can do rollbacks like I did earlier. You can either do trotting down the fence and then turning into the fence, or you can trot up, stop, backup, and rollback out of the backup and trot off on the line again.
Also straight lines. Our trainer makes us do straight lines until our legs fall off, but let me say, it works miracles. Just go from one side of the pen to another, and keep your horse as straight as possible. Just look up, pick a point and lock your eyes on it. It has also helped me remember my axis points.
You should work on making your circles perfect too. A big part of barrel racing is having your horse know how to make perfect circles!
I'm gonna shut myself up for now, but that is what I would do ontop of what you are already doing. :)
Hey! What I would do is not only trot him while riding, but also run with him on the ground. I did this with my mare before-results were amazing. all I can say is Trot trot trot!!
If you horse is indeed a finished barrel horse, you often don't need to do barrel work in-between your runs. You just simply need to keep them conditioned.
Lots of great info in there.
You don't need ANY barrels in the arena to work on things that can help your barrel racing.
You can do a reining pattern on him in the arena. (walking or trotting it, if you are not allowed to gallop)
You can work on "perfect circles". Basically, ask your horse to make a barrel turn with an imaginary barrel and expect your horse to have perfect bend in the body, nose turned in, and keeping their hindquarters under them. You can do this at all 3 gaits (walk, trot, canter).
Riding up hills is a great way to strengthen the hindquarters. Backing also helps build hindquarter muscle.
You can do rollbacks on the arena fence.
You can do spiral exercises, keeping his body in that "perfect circle" frame.
You can do serpentines.
You can do the barrel pattern with imaginary barrels.
Lots of things you can do!! You don't need barrels to keep your horse in barrel shape.
Hill work is good for that. Lots of long trotting and driving him up into the bridle.
If he doesn't know how to do rollbacks, then teaching him how will build the muscle too. That's something any horse, particularly a barrel horse, should know.
I'd like to see a little more hindquarters digging in ... but still a great exercise!
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