First Barrel Troubles
I've been training my 9 year old quarter horse on barrels for a good year and a half and every time i try getting him into a run to the first barrel he jerks left. (We run right first.) I've grabbed the reins lower and even went out wide with him. He'll run the other two just fine but he has an aggressive jerk to the left when going around the first barrel. He was broke on the track so he's use to going left. When i started neck reining him i worked a lot on the right side. Any advise i can use to get him to turn right. Here's so pictures of him if it helps any.
Do you have any videos? And how long have you been trying to run him?
Also where at going to the first does he duck to the left? Before the barrel, at the barrel? We need a little more info, and a video would help us greatly.
I agree^^^ A video would help us the best to see what's going on.
Does he jerk at the walk or trot?
What happens if you run to the left barrel first and do two right turns? Does he do the same thing on those right turns?
And the "usual" questions:
1) Has he been checked for soundness by a vet?
2) Has he been seen by an equine chiropractor?
3) Has he been seen by an equine dentist?
4) Are you sure your saddle and tack fit?
Whenever a horse does something unusual like this by refusing to go a certain direction, it often means they have pain.
So we ask these questions just to make sure there isn't a pain issue that would be causing the horse's refusal; rather than a training issue.
Sorry but no i don't have a video. We are at the barrel and he is turning right then he jerks left with a little rear.
He doesn't do it when going left first. But i haven't really run him that way. Just when running he will do that. He is sound. Has had his teeth floated and everything fits him fine. He has not seen an equine chiropractor. Its not all the time he does this. He will do good one day then the next day he runs a few good ones then jerks away.
That just really sounds like a pain issue to me, especially if he's throwing in the little rear "for good measure".
I assume both the vet and the dentist have seen him somewhat recently? (within the last 6 months) It wouldn't hurt to have a chiropractor look at him. Or an equine massage therapist.
About what distance from the barrel do you have your pocket set?
Would you happen to be leaning inward with your body at all during the turn?
Are you waiting to ask for the turn until your knee is at the barrel?
These are all questions where a video would greatly help! Would you be able to get a video?
Basically, just looking for you to walk us through step-by-step what he is doingwith his body, how you are positioning him at the barrel, and what you are doing with your body, to maybe determine what's going wrong.
Or...... If he runs fine to the left. Why not run him to the left first?
I can get him through a slow lope and trot and he'll turn fine. It's just at a run so i didn't really think he was sore. I run straight down the arena to the third barrel. I don't start turning him to the first until his shoulder is lined up with the barrel. Though he is gradually moving to the first barrel when we are running to it. I ride both hands to the barrel then drop my right hand down to grab the reins lower. Then i let him turn. Sometimes he will turn it and sometimes he'll jerk away. I wish i could get a video but i don't have a camera right know or a phone. I do lean in going into the barrel. I wouldn't know but am i maybe asking him to turn to late? It would help a lot if i had a video.
Me, personally, I don't like to run down the middle of the arena to start my run. I like to head right for my pocket spot, which is 4 feet from the barrel. Maybe altering your approach to the barrel can help?
My old horse Beau, when I was training him, he had difficulties going wide on the first barrel. What worked for him was for me to run straight at the first barrel, ask him to move over, and that set the pocket for him to complete his turn correctly. I didn't have to do it that dramatic once he got the hang of it, but altering my approach to the first barrel worked for him.
Do not lean. That actually is probably what is causing your horse to jerk away. Dena Kirkpatrick just had an article about this in Barrel Horse News. Horses have much different vision that we have. They can see our knee in the saddle, but they cannot see directly in front of them. So if you are leaning in, causing your horse to shoulder in, and probably causingn him to turn too soon, he is physically losing sight of the barrel. This is going to cause him to do one of two things 1) knock the barrel over 2) duck off. Which in your case, he is ducking off. He doesn't want to turn because he can't see the barrel and he doesn't know where it is.
Dena Kirkpatrick has a great video explaining this, and how important it is to not turn too soon.
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