Learning to barrel race with a non-barrel horse?
I really want to get into barrel racing. I have a horse who was only ridden on trails previously. I know he will never take me to any shows or anything but how would I go about learning to barrel race on him? I think it would help the both of us. He is a horse that needs a job and needs to do it everyday to avoid becoming sour. And I need to regain my balance/muscle from not riding for a few years. I cannot afford to hire a trainer but want to do this for fun for now. What would be some exercises him and I could do?
Another note...he was always ridden bitless but has recently started to ignore the bitless bridle. I had a trainer come out to work with his buddy sour issues once and he put him in a stop and pull bit/hackamore. It helped him a lot! But when I went back into the arena to do some trotting exercises, he was a little too sensitive to the stop and turn and I felt I was giving him mixed signals. I would push him forward and the slightest pull of the reins would stop him from the harshness of the stop n pull. We then tried a bit on him and let him mouth it for a bit. He would not turn or stop with the bit however. (Sorry if that was confusing).
Basically what kind of bit should I be using on him (how do I get him use to it) and what exercises can we try?
here is my input,:)
I have recently got into barrel racing as well. with a non barrel racing horse. It is possible, but its hard and its SOOO much easier to ruin a horse, trying to teach yourself and your horse.
Do you know anything about barrel racing? I have watched it researched it and asked so many questions before i started. I dont have the money to get a trainer, but for me its not needed. Yes i do have many questions and ITS GREAT TO ASK THEM. if you need any help ask. If you think that your doing somthing wrong or if your horse is doing something wrong.. DONT hesitate to ask.. it will help you in the long run. Im not even that far in Sunny's training yet and he has been on and off of barrels for 2-3 years. And i still am not pushing him.. Its really hard if you dont have a finished beginners barrel horse to learn the stakes and they way barrel racing goes:) if that makes any sense. If you can I would try to get some lessons and/or help before trying to go for it.. BUT then again.. i just went for it and i think that i am doing pretty well:)
- the bit that i have sunny in is like a martha josie bit.. im not sure what it is called..
No offense barrelbeginner, but to the OP, do NOT train in the martha Josey bit. That is for finished barrel horses and experienced hands only. To each their own but I personally don't like them.
I would put him in a regular smooth snaffle to train.
If you horse is pretty broke you can practice YOUR position without actually training him for barrels so you don't have to worry about ruining him quite as much. I would really practice using one hand without neck reining, maybe doing rollbacks down the fence.
Also practice making perfect circles, large and slow, haunch turns, sidepassing, bending, things like that.
I'll be back! Can't post now.
I wouldn't suggest it.
No matter what discipline, if you haven't rode a finished horse, you have no idea what correct is and what you need to work towards.
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No Sorrel horse im glad you say this:) im learning as well so its great to know:) thanks:)
As sorrelhorse said, there are exercises you can do with your horse that tie into barrels as exercises and you both can gain knowledge and skill from those exercises but it's not really a great idea to just jump on your horse and try to train it for barrels. You said that your horse needs a job everyday? Barrel work and exercises are not something that can be done everyday, you'll ruin your horse. I'm not saying that you can't try this with your horse or that you shouldn't. It's just easy to mess something up that you are trying to do alone if you don't have a good handle on what exactly you're doing. I did start a thread that you could read through and has a lot of good ideas for things you can do with your horse to change things up and keep it different, it's also barrel work.
I, personally, would learn barrels yourself on a finished horse..
I'm training one for barrels now, and it takes a lot of patience, a great seat, and to know exactly what you're doing. It's hard work, and I know exactly how it usually ends up when neither horse or rider know how to run a barrel pattern (or how to start a horse on them). I've seen many people at the local shows that I either know personally or through others that have ruined some great horses. I know one girl who thinks she's all that and a bag of chips who has ruined multiple horses that were started, yet not finished, on barrels..she ruined their pockets (usually takes them right into the barrel, and occasionally wayyy too far out of the pocket), created spazzing monsters, and has soured most of them to any arena work at all. I know one girl with a spazz barrel horse that refuses to stop on the way home and has tried to jump the gate because they pushed the mare too hard, too fast and they have no brakes because the horse gets so worked up. It's not a career for these horses that are started by inexperienced/careless (not saying you're careless at all, just pointing out that some around here are), it's 14-25 seconds of hell where you can visibly see that their either panicked or would be completely out of control if they didn't have the harsh bits in their mouths.
Now, if you were working with a trainer and taking lessons, you could have a decent chance of pulling it off and keeping a sane horse that will run a pattern, but, I hate to say it, the odds are against you since you don't have the knowledge of what a finished barrel horse's run feels and looks like, and your horse has not a single idea as to how he's suppose to run a pattern. I wish you luck in whatever you decide to do though, and I hope you come out with a sane, nice horse, regardless of discipline.
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Alrighty...I kinda figured it would be hard since neither of us know what we're doing. Just wanted to know if there were exercises to try and help the both of us:) I will DEFINITELY be getting the help of a trainer when I do decide to get into barrel racing for shows. That's when I actually have the time:( Thanks for the advice everyone!
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