Whats Your Definition?
Of an automatic horse? I've seen it thrown around a few times now about people just riding "automatic barrel horses". Personally that's my goal with every horse to be able to just sit there and help a bit on a horse who knows their job.
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JJ once we get his first barrel down pat he will be very automatic. The only time I have to touch him is on his first barrel, the rest of the run he does on his own. He makes the same run every time once we get through out first barrel. Some horses it takes longer for them to get that way, while others catch on fast and don't really need a lot of help.
That is my personal opinion and definition of a automatic horse.
But bearing in mind "automatic" does not mean "anticipation".
Selena is very much in anticipation during the run. She will often try and shoulder a barrel if I don't check her up right. We spend a LOT of time running past barrels and doing counter arcs because of this habit she develops so quickly.
Jester, however, was very much so a truly automatic horse. He was good enough for me to run when I was little and he never tried to cheat or get smart or anticipate.
I guess I'll go ahead and answer myself.
a horse who needs little help from the rider, if any. Anyone could probably take them through the barrels, they know their job and will turn 3 barrels and run a good pattern each time. Normally running consistently in the times.
Heart is my very automatic horse even if she's not full out running yet, you sit there and kiss to her, pushing her and she goes. She doesn't cheat, doesn't go out wide, just turns and runs as long as your giving her her head.
Link, he's almost there. Get past the 2nd barrel and your pretty good to go. Usually it's just keeping him off the 2nd.
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BarrelRacingLvr pretty much summed it up.. To me an automatic barrel horse knows their job and can go in and run the pattern the same every time, very honest, and very consistent.. Doing all of this with not too much help - they know their job and really want to work.
That said. I think there's a very different kind of automatic horse also.. Those ridden by Lean Queens.. The horses that run in and if the girl falls off it still runs the pattern.. All the rider does is sit there and look pretty, kicking and whipping a little.. Trainer rides and keeps the horse in shape and the Lean Queen shows it.. I know quite a few of those.
Example - There is a little girl (Maybe 10 or 11) that shows in my area, assosiation shows and NBHA.. Her mom has a big black gelding that she runs but if needed and the daughter needs to win a class she'll put R (girl) on the horse.. I **** you not, she leads the horse in with the little girl on it, little girl kicks like hell, and the horse runs the pattern and wins.. We've been at a smaller show with this little team and the mom leads the horse in with a lead around it's neck.. takes the lead off and the little girl and horse run it bridle less.. Yeah, they also win the youth class.. big uproar about it and now they aren't allowed to run bridleless but she still shows the big black gelding.
Now, I'm not saying the little girl can't ride, she's a **** good little rider, and has a bad a** pony that she wins on.. The black horse is just one of those automatic horses that you just sit, kick, and win..
In my book there are just two kinds of automatic horses.
I was gonna say the same thing as Drum.
I would consider a "true" automatic horse to be one where any person can ride that horse, cue it wrong, and the horse is still going to run the same correct pattern.
But there's still a "decent" automatic horse that makes an honest run with very little help from the rider. This type of horse may not carry anyone through the barrel pattern flawlessly, but still needs very little help to do their job.
My ol' Beau was close to an automatic barrel horse. He was so honest. Throughout his entire life, we knocked ONE barrel. And that's because he somehow just brushed his nose on the 1st barrel during the turn. I'm still not sure how he did that. (And we woulda placed 2nd if he hadn't). Sometimes he'd anticipate a little on the barrel turn, and I had to make sure to push him past, but usually he got it right. He took a long time to learn things, but once he did, man did he stay consistent. (Pole bending on the other hand, he was anything but automatic ..... that little anticipater......)
I've rode/had a few of those really automatic horses. I had more fun on them and they taught me more than alot of the others I've rode. My horses when I was little were like that. And I had my mare who was anything but automatic for years, then was bought a older gelding who I believe anyone could have rode. My step dad ran him (he could ride already ) at his first show and won the 2D. I was always in the 1D locally on him, and he didn't take anything to ride. At the same time I was riding this guys mare who was also automatic as they come, point her and she went. Riding them taught me to be a more aggressive rider and helped me put more trust into my mare when running. So really I like the automatic horses alot and am happy to have two more coming along.
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