When to start barrel racing
I have a 3 year old mare and was wondering when to start actually pushing her to go fast. I have been barrel racing in some recent shows but am holding her back from fear of arthritis and such things that can go wrong in her legs. I was wondering what a suitable age would be to start letting her go and going for 1st place, im really worried and want to be as safe as possible when it comes to her legs growing.
I see SOO many things wrong with that paragraph right now....
First off....a 3yr old should just be getting rode and putting miles on...not on the pattern.
We don't start are horses on the pattern till they are 4, let them cruise their 5yr old year, start asking them at 6 a bit more, then pushing them at 7.
So I say back WAY off......she shouldn't be doing much right now at all. If you want a horse to go for the win I suggest finding a finished horse.
Age 3 is for light training, no jumping, no quick turns, etc.
While some may not agree, I do not like to do anything heavy till age 5, all out maybe 6 or 7, it is not just damage to the Horse that can happen, it also the mindset of a youngster that could get you in trouble.
Totally agree with BarrelRacingLvr. Your mare shouldnt even be near that pattern at this point in time. Let alone you thinking of running her. I don't start a horse on barrels until 4, and that's at a walk, trot and by the end of the season, a lope. At 5 I'll ask for more, but I will not push a horse until a minimum of 6 years old. It'll still take another year or so for everything to completely click with the horse.
From what you are saying, your concerned about your horse. But unfortunately, at the rate your going, she'll break down before she ever reaches her prime.
Thak you for giving me the ages that i should start doing patterns and such, but to clear things up i only trot the pattern hence why we kind of only go to shows for experiance. At a trot she is still pretty quick and that is with me holding her back. She is very sensitive with leg and i hardly ever put my leg on her because she will only think she is supposed to go faster. Honestly you should see how happy she is though her tail is in the air ears pricked forward and me having to hold her back, she just wants to run.
She needs more foundation work if she thinks any leg means go....how well is her foundation?
Does she have a solid quick stop, side pass, back, collection, move her front and hind end, pivot, collected relaxed circles at all 3 gaits, counter arcs?
How many of the above can she do in her sleep?
We are working on collection, and I havnt tried counter arcs the rest she can do in her sleep. She can also do relaxed circles at all 3 gaits but not that well collected we are working on it though.
I still say...take her off the pattern until she is 4. I don't care how well a horse knows the pattern....I want them to have a solid foundation. A solid foundation is key to having a successful barrel horse, not how early you start them on it.
My 3yr olds get rode out, chase cows, look for cows, barely worked in the arena. There 3yr old year is about getting the broke broke broke, and getting their foundation solid. The only hauling they get is going to ride outside the arena....they don't SEE a barrel until they are very broke. If they can't do collected circles at all different sizes by themselves without me having to keep them up and shaped, solid stop, work off my leg with no bit contact at all, counter arcs, loose rein riding, ect....they are not going to see a barrel.
Their 4 year old year is when I start them on the pattern, get them going good at trotting, then after a couple months I will start hauling to do exhibitions. While they are still doing barrel work at home on the basics and just starting pattern work they get hauled to races and camped on. I don't really haul them to arenas as 3 yr olds as I want them OUTSIDE the arena getting used to everything the average horse isn't exposed to.
People rush into things and try to rush....the horse is 3....she needs hours in the saddle of riding....not on the barrels or in the arena. She needs to learn to go at the speed YOU want on a dropped rein no ifs ands or buts. If she is pulling on you already...she needs to go back to basic foundation work. She needs to have the basics and the solid foundation. If you start a pattern without a solid foundation....your pattern already is having a crack formed in THAT foundation which is gonna hinder you down the road, and doesn't matter if your just trotting. She isn't being fast...she is being chargy, slopping, and rushing.
It is the littlest things in a foundation that people forget....but a finished barrel horse needs to have control of its entire body. Hips, shoulders, ribs, head, neck, legs, ect. You as the rider need to have control of ALL those.
Hips- keeps the horse working correct and under itself in turns and powering
Shoulders- A shoulder that is up means your horse is working, if the shoulder is dropped the horse is gonna work of the frontend vs the hindend thus disengaging the hip
Ribs & Neck- You want to have bend and flex for a round horse if the horse doesn't bend in the ribs your horse isn't going to work properly
Head- a horse needs to focus on you...if their head and nose is fighting you...there is something going on.
Legs/Feet- if your horse is heading for the wrong side of the turn you need to be able to take hold and move them over. If your horse isn't responding and moving then your horse is lacking.
ALL those come from a solid foundation and what I have stated above a couple times. And that is where Counter Arcs are vital on a barrel horse....your taking hold and moving them where you want along with picking that shoulder up and moving it. And with a solid stop, back, collection, rollbacks, ect...
I really don't feel like your understanding why it is important to work on a solid foundation.
BarrelRacingLvr.....do you agree with futurities? Do you think all horses should be flexed and round in their turns?
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And I like horses that are flexed and round in turns, I am not a fan of stiff running horses but that is a preference of mine.
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