Critique VIDEO - barrels and poles
Just took these videos yesterday myself. This is my 7-yr-old gelding Red who I have had for just over a year. I started him very slowly on barrels last year, as he had a lot of other work needing to be done too. Wish I had moved the camera over a tad; I intended to get only the 1st and 2nd barrel (because our biggest problems are on the 2nd barrel) but I kinda cut off the backside of the turn. Dang. Oh well.
A few things I know I need to work on.
--keep my weight BACK (I have a tendency to lean forward, and Red has a tendency to be front-heavy)
--do not cue him to turn too soon .... because he will. I need to be careful with my timing.
I'm also struggling on his 2nd barrel because I'm still having to switch his leads manually, because he hasn't realized he needs to switch. What do you guys normally do at this point? Let him figure it out? Or break down to a trot and switch?
And I'm also struggling on both the 1st and 2nd barrel (more-so the 2nd) on getting a nice complete tight turn. Trotting .... no issue. Loping .... sometimes. I think I've figured out that I need to look at the next barrel earlier than I am used to, and really push his outside shoulder over with my outside leg. He can be very snappy on the backside of the barrel, when he wants!
Okay here are the barrels
Poles he is doing *okay*. Obviously hasn't gotten the flying lead changes down every time yet. And he'll kinda start to lose the weave by the 5th pole (hence when I let him smack his own face into the end pole on one of the runs ... figured he'd be more careful of getting out of the way if he hit himself).
And here are the poles
Now I'm sure there's lots of things I could be doing better as the rider. What do you guys see I can change or should fix with my riding??
He's not rating or setting himself up to turn at all, he's not front endy he doesn't know how to use his hind end. Work on collection and controlling every part of the body, he should be arched to turn not running past the barrel. I would slow it down and work on perfection around the turns, make him pick up his shoulder and control where his hind end is tracking, don't let him swing it around the barrels. I would be doing rollbacks off the fence and stopping and backing at the barrels. Work on the pockets as well. As for you make sure your giving a cue to rate say "whoa" at at all times so he knows he has to start setting himself up to turn, set up in the saddle when turning so he can feel your weight shift back. I don't like have to cue with my hands because I want a horse that when finished anyone could ride. For switching leads I don't stop them, if they don't automatically figure out it's easier to turn on the correct lead I work between the first and second until they do. In poles treat your end poles the same as a barrel, he's not setting up to turn it. On another note I would do something about the head shaking, I can't tell if your getting in his mouth or he's not happy with the bit, but that's a bad habit to start.
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He does barrels a lot like my old rope horse does, just kind of laaaa-daaa-deeeeee and no rate or sitting down. And no real "drive" anywhere. Lots and lots of exercises to get him to rock back onto his hindquarters should do the trick!
I'm sure you've seen videos of Peanut, her and Red are alike.
For the lead change, I normally stop after the first barrel and pick up the lead again, then go through the trot after that. It makes me so thankful that Selena knows how to do a flying change, that made things so much easier with her...But It has been a nightmare with some others.
Now onto the videos...I am going to watch and then point things out as I see them :)
First thing I see on the barrels video is that he is not bent properly going into the turn. The first one wasn't bad, he wasn't fighting you and stayed on task, but if you can get some inside leg about thirty feet or so off and get him bending around it, getting soft, and looking at that barrel your turn will smooth out. This was the issue with the second barrel. He was looking the wrong way and you had to hold him off, which put him out of balance. The inside leg will soften him, bend him, and hold him balanced in the turn.
It's the same when you're loping, you have to get that shoulder with your leg and balance. Collect him, get him driving up from behind. He's kinda not putting any effort in right now, so you have to make him. The free-wheeling lope will make it all too easy in the beginning to have him bowing off the barrel. Get him softening and bending properly, it will make all the difference. I tend to underestimate that but every time that's what makes the biggest change between a mediocre run and a precise, on the money run. And if he bows off, circle it again or stop and haunch turn him to the inside. He should respect that he needs to finish that turn and left his shoulder out.
The next two times were better, but I would also emphasis pushing the hip in. Another thing I've noticed too is that there's no significant rate just loping through like that. You always have to rate, even if you can make the turn as a slow lope, always bring them back to you. If you're slow loping, trot around the barrel. My preference is to speed up between and then slow lope around the barrels. Otherwise they'll think rate is optional.
I think just those things, rate, collection, and bend will make a huge difference in Red :)
Now for the poles.
You had an awesome approach to that first pole, good distance, but still there was no bend. Bend to the turn is critical in everything, because it sets that horse up. It tells them, "Hey, get soft, get ready, we're gonna turn soon." Because if you don't have that bend, they have to throw themselves into that turn and make twice the effort to get out of it than if they had the bend already. Horse can't make a good turn without looking at the pole or barrel at least once.
Also, for the first turn, I would take him past it two or three strides and then finish close. Inside leg, bend, trot past it, make a u-turn and finish close and straight. When you go fast it'll tighten up and make a sweeping turn motion. It you turn in a circle like you would a barrel, you'll bow off and end up not straight for the weave.
When you are actually weaving, put your inside hand up to the pole. It's more like a lifting motion than a turn. Think straight line, and lift with your hand just a little to give you room to get by the pole. Otherwise you have the horse steering in and out, which you may not hit anything, but you take excess steps and get slowed down.
And I'll definitely say it again...Collect that trot and soften his face.
I see your legs not making too much contact with him (I can't see very well but I saw it a couple places) go ahead and bump bump him up with your legs and hold him gently with your hands, some nice steady contact to ask him to relax, soften his face, and drive up from behind. You said he's heavy on the forehand and that will definitely help that out too.
When you loped the poles, and you got to that end pole, he was WAY too close both times. And you saw that, by telling him to get over. Your inside leg needs to be on him WAY before you hit that pole, as soon as you leave the one before it. It will hold him off of it. And just like the top pole, take him by it a few strides and then ask for it. Like a rollback. Good inside bend, inside leg, and getting that precision is going to make him look a ton better.
Ahh I hope all that makes sense...I kept pausing, typing, pausing, typing...xD
Yes, I need to give him some better rate cues. I'm so used to my old guy where I didn't dare SIT until I was actually ready to turn, because he was so ratey. Red is the opposite so I need to get out of my old habits.
As far as the bit and head shaking, I took him to a reining trainer to get him softer in the bit (and she did wonderful with him). I guess I just realized I always correct his nose-throwing when we are riding out on the trail and I never let him do it .... but apparently I've spaced out correcting him on pattern work (probably becauase I've got a zillion other things running through my head). ***smacks forehead*** So I'll need to get into the habit of always correctin him. And asking for better bend into the turn. He is running rather straight at the barrels. Again, I'm so darn used to that because that's how my old horse ran. Old habits die hard! Hence why I posted videos to give myself reminders of these things.
Teeth have been done, that's not the issue. I try my best to keep my hands as light as I can. I just suspect that his old habit is popping up. Although I am still trying to figure out what bit works the best for him....
I say he is heavy in the front end because that's what the trainer told me.
I have tried working in-between two barrels to get him to understand the lead change thing and he just does not get it (at this point). I worked on it about a week and a half ago and I don't know how many times I figure-eighted between the two barrels, but he never once switched. So I guess that's why I've been switching for him at this point.
I am actually using my legs a lot with him, especially with the poles. He just chose to ignore it at that moment in time, hence why we stopped and I told him get over.
As the trainer pointed out that I took him to (which I agree with her), he likes to pretend he doesn't know things in order to "get out" of work. Like pretending he doesn't know how to give (throw nose) when he knows better now, or not listening to my legs (when he can be gloriously soft with them), or diving in on a circle. He tries to evade stuff in order to not have to do it. Little brat....
But yes, I need to work on getting more bend in him.
The speeding up / slowing down is a chronic problem with him. The trainer had him doing lots and lots of circles in the arena every day, which did help temendously, but I guess I just can't bring myself work him in the arena every day. I feel like he'd start to despise it with time. I'll have to find a good balance there.
I think Red needs to circle burn once a week or so. Selena is a prime example of that too, because she hates circle burning, it pisses her off, but she NEEDS to do it. She needs to have a day where we just lope beautiful perfect circles. I go all reiner on her here, expect her head to be down, curling around my leg, and getting soft. Soft is hard, and learning to never accept anything but a soft, on the vertical response is hard. It's habit for me now to keep bumping my outside hand and squeezing the horses up that I can't handle anything less....Both a blessing and a curse, LOL!
Maybe Red could benefit from a german martingale on the pattern for a little while?
Haha, I find it funny you say that because when I first purchased Red last year, I decided to lope some circles on him and he bucked in protest. Previous owners said he never bucked. Well, previous owners also didn't make him WORK, haha. That was the first and last time he tried to buck. I put the kabosh on that. (Although you may have noticed the teeny "happy" buck at the end of my barrel practice when I asked him for a little gas. Glad he's feeling good I guess!)
I have used a German Martingale on him before, and he does respond very well for it. Although I honestly just think that **I** need to get on the ball and ask him to give to the bit and not do that. So that's my fault. The trainer showed me how to correct him when he does that, and there I go allowing him to do it. ***forehead slap***
I've just got to get after him when he does that.
He had weeks of "perfect circles" at the reining trainer. (She had him for a month.) So I know he's capable of being that perfect boy. He kinda knows when he's gotta do what is asked of him. I've just gotta correlate that to the barrel pattern now. No more throwing nose!!
Smart boy, he knows what he can and can't get away with....It's funny how they learn all your ins and outs. Every horse does that to their owner, and if the owner says they don't...Then they truly got their human buffaloed! :lol: :lol:
Since I have no good advice, you should check out Fallon Taylor on youtube.. She does a ton of videos on perfecting a barrel pattern, and she is real good at it too.
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