Training a barrel horse
I started barrel racing a little over a year ago and I think it's great. Now, I'm not into going too fast and don't compete a lot, I just like to go to local jackpots for fun. Unfortunately, I don't think I'm going to be able to get my hands on a horse already trained in barrels. I do jumping and dressage too and those are the horses I have available to me. I don't have anyone to give me lessons anymore (I moved) but I can make it to one or two clinics a year and can go to low key jackpots/expo as much as I want all year round. So, with all that said, and a solid broke horse, do you think it would be feasable to create my own barrel horse? Remember, not trying to be competitive. If I can have a 4d horse I'd be tickled.
Well you've got the right mindset!
It's great you've got realistic goals. I wish more people had that. With what you want to achieve, I think you could do it yourself. Keep going to the local jackpots as much as you can and observe/talk to people. Who knows. You might even be able to find a trainer that way, by word of mouth.
Also try to get your hands on as many resources as you can. There are a handful of free barrel racing videos on YouTube (Sherry Cervi, Martha Josey, and Dena Kirkpatrick, are a few to mention). But also get your hands on books and DVDs if you can. More knowledge = more knowledge.
You'll want a horse that's at least 4 years old and either has a good solid foundation of general riding, or that you could put that on yourself. You need to be able to stop softly from any gait, back easily, sidepass and move on the diagonal, simple and flying lead changes, turns on the fore and the hauchnes, neck and direct rein, etc. Basically, be able to move your horse's body in any way you choose, at any speed, at any time. THEN you can start patterning on the barrels.
You'll want to walk or trot the barrels (no galloping) for at least a few months. In barrel racing training, slower is better. If you go too fast too soon, you'll create bad habits. Also, you don't have to drill them with the pattern. You don't want to do it so often that they become sour on it and resent it. Working on the pattern 3 or 4 times a week is enough, in my opinion. And if they do something perfect and correct, great! Quit on a good note, even if it was only trotting through the pattern once.
And the local jackpots are a great place to do exhibitions and get your horse used to the hustle and bustle.
Beau has given you great advice, ditto what she said.. I also posted a thread that's a sticky, the other runners on the forum have also added great information that you can browse through and get a feel for what you can be doing.
You can absolutely use your horses with other training and experience for barrel racing! I firmly believe in have horses that able to do a great variety of different things.
drumrunner has some great advice. Really take advice from others that are experienced in the area. Go slow and don't rush things. If you end up with a 4d horse GREAT! that is so awesome having a great realistic goal. I think some of us forget that sometimes and get ourselves overwhelmed with these huge goals. I have really been focusing on getting back to having fun and enjoying myself at barrel races or rodeos and making sure my run is correct vs. fast.
You will do great!! keep up with the questions and watch videos and try and attend clinics if possible! :)
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