Awful turns -- help? :c
So I've had my horse for almost a year and pretty much just messed around on him and not done anything serious, but I've started patterning him for playdays since he conditioned and I have a few months before the fall series starts in my area. The main problem I have with every pattern (mostly barrels) is that when I turn my horse, he doesn't maintain his momentum. He plants his feet, flexes his neck, and turns, and only then does he speed up. He doesn't walk through the turn or keep his butt moving as well as his front feet. He just stops. Now I've tried kissing/clucking and squeezing my legs to push him forward out of the turn but he just loses so much speed in them. I'd describe to you how I rein him through this but I really can't, so if anyone could tell me what I might be doing wrong with my reins, that'd be awesomeee.
do you rest the outside rein on the neck and keep the outside leg on him and open up the outside leg as you turn? That way he will remember that you are still in charge, so you will keep his attention.
I do the leg cues, but I may not always rest the rein on his neck. I'll try that tonight when I ride and see how it goes.
My daughter and my friends that barrel race rarely do the pattern, but they practice turning around anything and everything at all speeds, making their horse maintain a proper bend and speed. Trail rides with them can get annoying because they see a tree and they'll take turns trotting or loping around the tree while I sit there with my pleasure horse waiting my turn. Maybe before you worry about the pattern, you just worry about keeping your horse at a given speed with bigger circles first, then making them smaller as your horse understands what you're asking.
Do you have a video you can show us? It's often hard to guess what could be going on without seeing a video.
I would try looking up some videos on YouTube, there are some pretty helpful videos on there, with exercises to do to get your horse better with turns.:) Also, at our boarding ranch, there is a horse that did roping, so he stops when he turns on the barrels.
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I would like to see a video as well.
But it sounds like the horse doesn't know how to turn a small circle correctly.
I would do some spirals at a w/t/l to get him comfortable and teach him how to move in a small circle. You also need to keep that forward momentum at any speed. And if he is really flexing ride him two hands and shorten your outside rein a tad, just so he can flex still but not go nose to knee kind of flex and really drive him forward with your leg (squeezing, no kicking). Do this at a walk and trot first for awhile.
So he needs some more basic work before going to any pattern yet.
Once you can work a small circle at any speed with you in control you are ready to move forward. Thats what I worked on for a month and I've never had more control than now. I also did alot of flexing exercises where I lean on my inside stirrup and while he is standing make him bend his neck and put his head near my inside stirrup. Then I lean a little to the other stirrup and get him to use his hind end to move in a tight circle. This helps flex those muscles tremendously. You'll get there. Its taken me 6months to teach my horse and still there are always issues that arise as barrel horses get more experience.
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