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I have alot of time on my hands this month with my son at his dads and my husband working out of town.
I was thinking of doing a daily conditioning schedule of flat work with my quarter horse. This is his first year doing barrels and he's improving slowly. I have yet to throw an english saddle on him, but I have a close contact saddle and I'd really like to see how he does in it. I would like to do alot of this conditioning in it so it can keep him in shape as well as me.
I heard through the grapevine that sometimes barrel horses also make good hunter or dressage horses. Is this pretty true?
I just love riding in my english saddle sometimes. I don't want to confuse what I'm teaching him in barrels but he's so smart I feel like he will know the difference.
Glad you like English because long trotting is a good way to condition a horse. Do this on the trails if you can.
90% of the riding I do with my barrel horse does not involve barrels at all.
But it does involve conditioning.
I try to ride 5+ times a week. Usually my "normal" conditioning rides consist of:
1/2 to 1 mile walking to warm up
1 mile long trotting
2 miles loping
1 mile long trotting
1 mile walk to cool down
Or some combination of those things. And most of that is straight on trails. I'll do some circle work every now and then, and I work the barrel pattern about twice a week right now with him so he's getting circle work there too.
If a barrel horse is a pretty mover, then yes they'll make a nice dressage/hunter horse. All depends on the horse's movement; doesn't necessarily have anything to do with barrels itself.
Horses are very, very smart. They know when you have an English saddle on their back, and they know when you have a barrel saddle on their back. Chances are, you also use a different bit for the two events; again, horses are smart and they know the difference. You won't confuse him.
Being a good hunter or dressage horse depends on their build and movement. Like my horse he'd look funny as a hunter but would probably look fine doing dressage. Most riding is just riding, I've never seen a reason not to slap on an English saddle at times and ride in it. Especially on my finished horses or at least if they know they pattern already. My old barrel mare I rode and showed her in hunt seat classes, she knew the difference in her tack. You could go at a barrel in English tack, she wouldn't pay attention to it. My bits were different to, she easily knew her job for each set of tack.
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Some of the really heavily bred barrel horses I have noticed are excellent english horses, because they are bred to be free moving. This is just what I have noticed, and it was been pegged true in my experience.
My mare is cow bred, and she is a catty little barrel horse but she isn't a good english horse. She can do hunt seat okay, and equitation, but she isn't excellent in them.
If you want to do both, switch tack and bits. I do this with horses that do multiples. For example, Selena is my main girl right now, and she runs barrels in a jr. cowhorse bit and short short short barrel reins. Then she does reining and pattern classes in a long shank billy allen bit. She's a lot hotter in the jr. cowhorse than she is in the billy allen, because she knows what that means.
But, on that same note, a horse doesn't care what saddle is on their back, so long as you ride them well. It doesn't need to be a big deal to them.
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