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The Northwest Cowgirl 09-20-2012 07:38 PM

Starting a young horse on barrels!
Hi there!
I'm starting my (almost!) 5 year old horse on barrels.
I been working just on cantering to the barrel, and then trotting around.
He's still very uncoordinated, and can't quite canter and do a sharp turn around them yet, without him just slowing down to a trot, or almost falling over.

Any tips for exercises to work with him on?

I've never started a horse before, let alone on barrels, and want to make sure I do it right. I have worked with a gal from my 4-H group, who told me about the 3 feet space you give the barrels, and we trotted barrels this year at fair (as a beginner rider, you can only trot them, and will be disqualified if you go into a canter for more than three strides). He's doing pretty good, but I'm trying to get him ready for this year (we have to canter!) and I need some help. :)
Any advice/exercises are great!

Saddlebag 09-20-2012 08:01 PM

Start him over and walk to your barrel and trot him away to teach him to pick up speed as he leaves the barrel. By walking your approach you can get the distance away from the barrel more accurately and it's easier on him. I then do a nice easy lope off the last barrel. I never ran the barrels at home just at a show. She knew the pattern and responded to my requests.

The Northwest Cowgirl 09-20-2012 08:15 PM

I've only been working with him on two barrels right now (figure 8) just to get him used to turning the barrels. He's real stiff when he turns them, I going to start using more leg pressure to try and get him to bend more. He's really good at taking off at a lope after he turns them, but slows waaaayy down before he actually turns them, or isn't consistent about it.
I'll try what you said :)

Annanoel 09-20-2012 08:21 PM

BarrelRacer23 09-20-2012 08:28 PM

Honestly I'd find someone to take lessons from on your horse, and maybe on a trained horse as well. There's so many little things that are easy to miss, an experienced rider has the feeling of whats right so they know when something is wrong with your turns. Lessons aren't expensive and in the end you will progress much faster than on your own. I'm not trying to offend you, but anyone getting into something new I think should learn whats it's about from someone who knows.
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CLaPorte432 09-20-2012 08:36 PM

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Take the barrels away and focus on your riding and getting a good foundation on that horse. You'll do more damage then good if you continue the way you are.

Your horse should be able to do the following before ever even seeing the barrels...
- walk, trot, canter BALANCED
- a solid whoa
- backing
- sidepassing
- leg yeilds
- rollbacks
- collection/flexion

The best advice i can give you, Find a trainer and work with them.

BarrelracingArabian 09-20-2012 08:38 PM

I also second lessons getting a trainer will be your best bet however ill try and give you my point of view or atleast a smidge of it.
. One thing is work on getting him soft and rounded before you put on the barrels. You really want to makr sure you have a strong basics going on first yielding, back, whoa etc you want control of your entire horse . Forget loping all together and forget trotting just walk it, ask for impulsion coming out but dont start picking up your speed till he knows them backwards haha you can never do to much slow work. Also switch it up dont do the same pattern all the time stick a pole in the middle or off to the side anything to keep him thinking. Dont add speed till his walk is perfect.
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Annanoel 09-20-2012 08:42 PM

I third if that's possible lessons as well, starting a horse too fast is the best way to ruin them. I don't even run the pattern at home, we make sneak in practice here and there, but he has no idea we are. Hot horses aren't good. Go to a trainer and start with some lessons to get and maintain a solid base!

DrumRunner 09-21-2012 01:03 AM


Originally Posted by Annanoel (Post 1691307)

Thanks girlie!... OP, I started this thread a while ago and other barrel racers have also added a lot of great information as well.. I will be another vote for finding a trainer to help you but that thread can give you ideas that you can work onwith your horse to have that foundation of skills to set you up when starting to work on the pattern with your horse. It's a bit of a read but you'll really get a lot of information. :wink:

The Northwest Cowgirl 09-22-2012 12:09 AM

Ok thank you everyone! :)
I'll definitely find a trainer, or wait for 4-H to start.
Like I said, Jake means a ton to me, I want to make sure I do this right!
He has a great temperament, and I want to make sure he has good manners too. (;
Thanks again!

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