What do you guys think? Critique me please
This is me riding my seven year old Morgan Gelding, Bubbles at an amateur rodeo this summer. Our time was 24 seconds despite the fact that he spooked on second barrel and went wide on third..But I'm new to barrel racing and would like some pointers if you have any. I know I also ride really forward in my saddle, which I need to change for rodeos, I'm just used to riding that way for endurance riding and thats how I ride bareback. Lol, anyways tell me what you all think.
I can't really see what you are doing from how far away it it, but definitely work on setting up for that turn, getting your leads right all the time going slower, and approaching good.
Coming to the first you were on the wrong lead which can be fixed, but it's a lot easier just to make sure you are on the correct one (Left) going in so you can get that bend and set up properly for the turn.
Go ahead and give a little tap-tap with your inside leg about halfway to the barrel and hold it until your rate point. What this will do when used correctly is lift up that shoulder, get some bend, and hold them off the turn. When you get to your rate point you can bring it down, take your leg off, go to one hand and push them to finish the turn with your outside leg.
That is really important going to your second barrel, because you finished the first pretty well all things considered and then still had no bend by the time he bawked at the barrel. That makes it extremely hard for them to complete the turn. Just inside leg, use your outside hand just a tiny bit too if you have to, set your straight line and head right to your rate point again.
Also something that may happen with your horse is I notice his shoulder popping away from his nose a little bit. You're going to want to do a lot of haunch turns and counter arc circles (Like moving in a circle left but the nose tipped right, or vice versa) to get control of that before it becomes a problem. Opening up your inside hand and bending should mean turn, NOW, and I see a lot more bend than turn on this horse. You still turned well, it's just refining it and getting it correct with the minimal amount of effort which will come from those exercises, getting him super responsive to your hand.
I have to get off this laptop for a bit but I'm certain someone else will come along to help you here shortly. :lol: Very cute horse by the way.
I agree it is tough to see fine details in the small video, though.
First thing I see before you even start is to shorten those reins! They are WAY too long. When you pick up on the reins to stop, you want your reins about 4 inches in front of your saddle horn (length will vary slightly based on how long your arms are and how long your horse's neck is). You've got a fairly short-necked horse so you can go short.
Here's what my reins look like when I am just sitting and relaxing on my horse Red.
You have a very cute horse though! I do agree with that. :wink:
Alot of times, before you start your barrel run, it can be to your benefit to circle your horse before you start your run. This does a couple things
1)makes sure you horse is on the correct lead
2)makes sure your horse is soft and listening to you, and is focused.
Here's an example of circling before a run, with my horse Red, who I am just training for barrels. This was one of the first few times we loped the pattern. But I start him with circles to make sure he's picked up his correct lead and that's he focused and ready (he's normally quite ADHD so he certainly needs it). Not his best practice by any means, but you can see the circling beforehand.
On your first barrel turn, I'd give your horse a bigger pocket. He took the turn rather tight, which slowed him down, and made him lose his impulsion. Especially when you're first starting out of the barrels, you can go ahead and make your pocket size generous. As you add speed, they will naturally suck in closer to the barrel.
And you've already said you lean forward too much, which is true! :lol: Especially on that first barrel turn, you are quite thrown forward in the saddle. This is where it would help to hold onto the saddle horn to keep yourself out of your horse's way. I will hold onto the horn with my outside hand, and then wedge my elbow into my outside hip. This reminds me to keep my weight centered and slightly back in the saddle. You also want to keep your weight slightly moreso in your outside stirrup. It is simple physics: An object going in a circle will go faster with the weight to the outside. So really focus on sitting back in the saddle.
As for the second barrel, spooks happen. I'll be trying to season Red this coming year and he usually boogers at quite a few things. But again, make that pocket larger. Don't turn the barrel so tight; so lose your speed by doing that.
Now one thing you did do right (that alot of people don't), is you went directly from the 2nd to 3rd barrel in a straight line. Perfect! You never want to arch or drift from barrel to barrel. Again, it's science: The fastest and shortest distance between two points is a straight line.
And then your 3rd barrel pocket .... was actually too big this time. :-) But I guess I'd rather see a pocket like that, versus a small one, because the too small pocket can cause you to hit barrels. You want to enter the pocket at about 4 feet from the barrel. I like to keep my distance the same all the way around the barrel, but some horses may have a different style than that, so you've just got to kind of feel how they are going to turn the quickest.
Overall, not bad!
I will refer to Dena Kirkpatrick because I like the way she explains things. She teaches all of her horses "perfect circles" before they ever even see a barrel (along with making sure they can pick up each lead, do flying lead changes, be able to move the hindquarters/shoulder/nose/ribcage separately of each other, sidepass and two-track, stop softly and back up freely, and just basically having your horse 120% broke broke broke).
Your goal of teaching perfect circles is for your horse to make a perfect circle on their own with little to no help from you. This allows you to have only one hand on the reins. Yes, you might have a little supporting neck rein on some horses, but mostly perfect circles are done with direct reining.
Dena Kirkpatrick has a lot of free videos on YouTube and I suggest you watch them all. Here's two of them that have information about perfect circles (although she isn't talking about them directly). When she goes around the barrel, watch where her hand is, watch what her body is doing, and watch what the horse is doing. You can teach that circle away from the barrels; you don't even need the pattern for that. Initially, you will start teaching it two-handed, and either bump your horse in, or bump them out if they make a mistake in keeping that circle perfect. And don't prevent them from making the mistake ... go ahead and LET them drift in or out incorrectly! That way, the horse learns when you correct them and push them back in, or out, or adjust their shoulder, or tip their nose, or whatever. Horses can't learn unless we do allow them to make a mistake. Eventually, your horse should make a perfect circle while you only keep one hand on the reins. Use your legs. And of course, start at the walk, then progress to the trot, and finally the lope.
I second what Beau said.
The reason you don't neck rein is because it causes the horse to drop the shoulder to the inside. Then they can't use their body correctly and will shoulder barrels and not be able to drive off leaving them. Plus, some of those powerhouses will actually fall if they get unbalanced like that.
Your horse ran faster than mine, and he was running as fast as he could, and your horse spooked at a barrel. Oh, I have a slow horse :)
I'd do what I do with horses I am just starting in barrels. SLOW work. You should practice circles, leg yields, counter arcs even, I like to keep them moving in a circle with their nose tipped inward. Work on your lead changes. He should be perfect at a walk and trot before ever moving into a lope. He's a gorgeous horse by the way! Just take it back to the basics and get him using his body the way he needs to and teach him all the tools he needs to run a smooth pattern. :)
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