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huntergrl 08-10-2013 07:34 PM

Critique please
Keep in mind this is our fastest since I busted my leg on the barrel 4 weeks ago and have been lightly walking/trotting him only the past 2 weeks. I had to start over with some basics on the barrels this past week. We've worked everyday and we are back to where we were. yay! However it was super hot today so I wasn't going as fast in this video as we were right before the accident, I was pushing him only a little. I like to get back to speed gradually. I am just glad to be back on and feel the pattern again :)

huntergrl 08-10-2013 07:49 PM

You can see on the 3rd barrel (which is the one that sliced my leg open) that he goes to cut into it and I quickly gave him pressure with my inside leg and he scoots himself around it on the way back.
I am proud of myself for that :) That was a hard lesson learned. LOL

beau159 08-12-2013 02:36 PM

I would NEVER be loping my horse on the pattern like that on grass. NEVER. You are just asking for your horse to slip and fall. What kind of traction can they possibly get on slippery grass? I understand not everyone has a nice arena to practice in, but at least go out there with a shovel and a hoe and dig up the grass into dirt around the barrels themselves. It's just not safe at all to lope/run barrels on grass. And you weren't exactly going slow.

You are on the wrong lead going to the first barrel. Make sure you cue him for the correct lead for the turn.

Going to turn the second barrel, you are "holding" him off the barrel by tipping her nose away from the barrel. That's a no-no. He'll start to drop her shoulder. Plus, you are taking all the bend out of his body and he's got no way to make a good turn, because his body is arched the wrong way. Instead, use your inside leg to push him over, and lift with your inside rein. At all tiimes, bend should stay in his body. Use your legs; not the reins.

Same thing on the 3rd barrel. I can see his nose is up in the air, and turned away from the barrel. No correct bend in the body at all.

Go back to trotting the pattern and getting your horse to listen to you. Right now he's fighting you with the bit too. That nose is flying in the air A LOT to evade bit pressure.

I see some real potential in your horse, and he tries hard for you. But find some better ground and take a couple steps back to keep that bend in his body, and soften him in the bridle.

huntergrl 08-13-2013 01:37 PM

Thanks for the pointers I will work on that.
The reason we have grass is because the barn owner doesn't have the equipment to keep the ground done. Also she is a barrel racer from the old days when thats all they ran on. We've had horse shows and many people use grass. I think its mainly not a problem here because our ground is very sandy, we are located right on the outerbanks area of NC.
I am usually very careful on not running fast on it though.
Thanks for your view and I sure hope he turns out to be as good as he feels!

beau159 08-13-2013 05:56 PM


Originally Posted by huntergrl (Post 3339722)
Thanks for the pointers I will work on that.
The reason we have grass is because the barn owner doesn't have the equipment to keep the ground done. Also she is a barrel racer from the old days when thats all they ran on. We've had horse shows and many people use grass. I think its mainly not a problem here because our ground is very sandy, we are located right on the outerbanks area of NC.
I am usually very careful on not running fast on it though.
Thanks for your view and I sure hope he turns out to be as good as he feels!

Go ask a football player if they'd want to play a football game in tennis shoes instead of football cleat shoes. I don't think you'd find anyone who would trade out their cleats; especially the runningback who has to make sharp turns to avoid being tackled while running the ball. Grass is too slippery, whether or not its growing in sandy ground. No different than a barrel horse who has to make a sharp turn around a barrel.

So if everyone jumped off a cliff, you'd go too? It's a silly mentality to say "Well everyone does it....."

Not careful enough. You are going WAY too fast on grass. What exactly does your horse have to dig into for traction in this freeze frame from your video? Nothing. A hard flat surface, with slippery blades of grass.

You can't quote what they did in the old days, because we've improved a lot since then on many different things. In the way we train barrel horses, in the way we care for them, in the way we haul them, etc etc. And the type of ground we run them on. Yes, rodeos are notorious for having "bad ground". Yes, sometimes barrel races are held on "bad ground". But when I am training a horse to learn how to run barrels, I want him to learn in a safe environment so he learns how to place his feet and learns how to turn a barrel properly.

As I said, I understand not everyone has a dirt arena to work with. But if that were my practice space, I would be out there with a hoe and a shovel and at least roughening the ground around the barrel for traction. Or spray the grass to kill it around the barrels, and then haul in dirt to put around the barrels. Or something to make the situation work. If the owner wouldn't let me do that, then I would trot only at home, and haul to an arena to practice or do an exhibition. My barrel horses are worth too much to me than to risk an injury by asking them to lope a barrel pattern on grass.

End rant.

Good luck.

GamingGrrl 08-13-2013 06:25 PM

OP, please take the advice given to you! I only have grass avaliable to ride on so I focus on lots of slow work, and haul out when I need.
We're just looking out for you and your horses safety.
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CLaPorte432 08-13-2013 09:03 PM

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The pattern was overall sloppy. You need to go back to the basics of the patten.

you did not give your horse a good angle for the first barrel, you were way too close to even make a decent turn.

You were on the wrong lead every time.

your fighting with him and pulling him off of every barrel. If you have to do that, your training has a lot of holes in it.

he's evading the bit and your directions. He wants to do it his way.

your pockets aren't "there" they are wide and need much improvement. You have no bend from your horse, he is stiff and not relaxed. He's rushing.

unfortunately now, you have a lot of things to go back and fix. And its going to be very difficult with the bad habits he has.

Training a horse on a barrel pattern is hard work. It takes extensive, very tedious training.

if this was my horse, he wouldn't even see a pattern until he went back to walk, trot, canter, leads, lead changes, side passing, yielding shoulders and hindquarters, rollbacks, backing and whatever else that a horse should know.

then it'd be 2-3 months of walking/jogging the pattern to really engrave the proper way to use his body on the pattern in his mind. Loping him is going to be difficult cause he's going to go back to his old ways once speed is picked up. And loping the pattern would be 6+ months out.
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huntergrl 08-14-2013 08:49 AM

I don't agree he was on the wrong lead every time. I don't see that. He was on the way to the first barrel then switched when he got there. We corrected the wrong lead to the second barrel. He was on the correct lead going to the third. I have done all the rollbacks, bending, etc exercises for 6 months and he usually bends really well around the barrel. The reason he was stiff the way he was around the barrels was as I said I had an accident a month ago so we haven't practiced our usual exercises in a month.
I definately am at fault for my pockets. Since I'm outta practice I put his feet wrong in the pockets. Also we didn't warm up well when we did this video. I can show a much better video when my husband gets back from out of town. All I had was 10 mins so I could catch the barn lady to shoot it real quick.
Yes he has those moments when no matter how much he knows he "wants to do it his way". Thats the kind of hardheaded horse he is. I like that, he is smart. He does that about 10% of the time.

However, this is only our first year so yes we need some years of practice.

huntergrl 08-14-2013 09:03 AM

I totally hear what everyone is saying about bending. I just didn't realize how many people in my local nbha group do it wrong. I guess I see their horse isn't performing the pattern perfectly but they are just going fast and getting good times. Maybe I am getting improvement from my horse and my horse does a better job responding to me so I know I can get a good time like they are getting.
I mean most of their horses are rearing and freaking out at them but they run them anyways. I am tired of feeling like the slow one :(

You're right I need to slow it back down and we were probably ready to go fast then after a month off from the accident it took us a little bit backwards.

I will post another video after a couple weeks of doing that. I am positive I can get him back to his wonderful ability to bend around the barrels.

beau159 08-14-2013 10:17 AM

When you go to a barrel race, it is very important to stick to YOUR game plan. If you were going to go to the barrel race and slow lope the pattern, then you need to slow lope it. Who cares if you are the slow one? Don't let anyone else influence how you ride YOUR horse. I entered in a jackpot last summer to TROT my horse through the pattern. I don't give a two nickels for what anyone else thought of me doing that, because that's what my horse needed so I"m going to do it.

And just because everyone else is going fast and sloppy, does not mean you should follow suit. I'm guilty of seeing people do things and thinking "Oh I should do that with my horse too." But I always remind myself of what my game plan was before I arrived. And stick with it. I know my horse best, just like you know your horse best.

The people that actually know how to train a barrel horse correctly can pick out the people like a sore thumb that are doing it wrong. There are many barrel racers who have rushed their horses or who have not given them the right fundamentals. And those people are usually found at the local races. If sloppy and fast is winning, think about what the horse could do if the pattern was CORRECT and fast.

The point of the leads is that you aren't helping your horse by allowing him to go toward the barrel on the wrong lead. A finished horse, yes, it does not matter with the leads. But your horse is not finished. Your horse is still learning. Especially on the first barrel, he got caught up in trying to change his lead way too late at the barrel. Plus he had no bend in his body. Basically YOU should have set him up for success at that first barrel by being on the correct lead already, asking for bend before the pocket, etc, but you didn't. That's why it is important to put them on the correct lead in the beginning, because they have enough to worry about the way it is while they are learning.

Your horse was stiff around the barrels because you didn't ask for any bend. Sure, I agree that he probably won't do it as nicely if he's not "in shape" as much as he was before, but he can't do it if you don't ask.

And THIS needs to be fixed:

Have you ever had his teeth checked?

What bit are you using?

He's completely evading bit pressure. That's going to ruin your barrels quicker than anything else. I think some more time off the pattern, and more time with the basics (softening in the bridle) will be beneficial.

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