Barrel racing / Western show tips
I have actually two areas that I'm looking for tips in, but for the same horse, so I figured it would be easier to make just one topic.
(Sorry if this gets kinda long and wordy... ^_^;; )
The horse I'm riding is Magic, my 10-year-old QH mare. Her previous owners used her for primarily barrel racing, with some pole bending and cattle work. However, she's had five years of being a pasture pony before I got her. I've got her back into riding, and other than a bit of (easily contained) herd-bound-ness, she does what I ask. So that's just a bit of background on her training.
For the barrel racing question: The only time I've run barrels before is one time on my friend's mare, that runs the course on her own -- point her at them and she runs with little to no interference from the rider. So I can't say I know much about it. A few days ago, that same friend and I took Magic up to the fairground arena for a practice run, and I think I learned a bit, but I'm still not sure how to run the barrels well. Magic seems to know well enough what she's doing, but if I just start her running and let her do her own thing, she tends to sort of... wander off after the second barrel. :-| However, if I'm reining her, she keeps breaking to a trot at the barrels.
Are there any tips any of you more experienced racers could give me? I'm sorry if that seems like a pretty broad request, but I'm really not sure where to start.
Oh, and if anyone knows of a good instructional video or something online?
For Western Show (this one's easier, I promise. :-P ) : It's been a few years since I've shown in any riding classes (I've mostly done a halter class here and there the last few years), and this year I'm planning to get back into it. There's a local show next week that I'm planning to enter, and the three classes (besides my halter shows) that I'm looking at are Horsemanship, Walk Trot Western Equitation, and Western Pleasure. I've been going out to the fairground arenas daily for practice, and Magic is doing the basic gaits (Walk, Trot, Canter, and Lope), working on her leads, and backs up without a problem. Is there anything else that might be required in these classes? I already tried e-mailing the person running the show, but I haven't gotten a response yet.
I'm told by a friend who's been in this club longer than me (and rides English, so she's not any help with the Western classes) that there's usually only four other people in the Western classes, and the judges are all Quarter Horse judges, so I have an upper hand there; plus, Magic is white (well, technically grey), so she sticks out from all the chestnuts and bays and sorrels around these parts. :-P She naturally carries her head like a pleasure horse, and neck reins like a dream, so I have no worries about having a problem with her.
Um... yeah, that's all. If I left something out, or didn't describe something well enough, just let me know.
Oh, and any tips on getting a white horse *really* clean?
On the barrel front... Honestly couldnt tell ya what might be going on unless I saw a video of it. There's too many possibilities on both the horse and rider that it would be impossible to give you accurate advice.
As far as the showing goes...
For the Eq and horsemanship classes, the riders and horses are required to navigate through a pattern exhibiting control. Different maneuvers often used are lope, canter, jog, trot, walk, lead changes, circles, pivots on the forehand and hind quarters, as well as backing.
Pleasure classes are when the class is judged on the movement of the horse and the willingness. Walk, jog, and lope on the rail. Often asked to back up as well.
Im not sure how competitive the show your going to is (with only about 4 other competitors)... QH judges, real QH judges, can be pretty tough to please. Good luck.
If your able to get any videos of you riding, that would be a great help in offering advice.
I'm hopefully going out to the arenas tomorrow (if it doesn't rain again) to practice barrel racing and maybe work on her lead changes... if I can talk my friend into running the video camera, I'll upload the video. But if she won't, I might be able to prop the camera on a fence post or something, too.
Ok, if she is just wondering off on about the second barrel when u dnt steer her, well thats pretty typical. Most horses need 2 be told what to do if they havnt or havnt n a long time barrel raced. and its ok that she is slowing down 2 a trot. she needs to learn the pattern. what i would do if i were u is start at a walk. i wouldnt run at all. and if u need help with trying 2 get her 2 turn, u need to: place a barrel n the middle of the ring. starting at a walk, make big circles around it, keeping her nose turned in, then u need 2 gradually make smaller circles untill u r accually going around the barrel like u would in a competion. then slowly start back out into the big circles. u can speed up once she learns what ur doing. This helps them flex and gives them something to do rather then get bored with the three barrel circut.
Cowboys girl gave awesome barrel advice. The better the horse knows the pattern, the less she needs to think through cues. She'll start building muscle memory and understanding her job.
Depending on the size of the show, there may or may not be a pattern for the walk/trot equitation. Almost definitely for the horsemanship. Watch when you sign up that you can do walk/trots and w/t/c classes at the same show. I've never seen w/t horsemanship. I've been in several western equitation classes that asked for a dismount and remount. That can get technical, surprisingly. Remember to step down to the ground when you dismount, don't slide to the ground unless Magic is too tall to step. Be sure to check your curb strap if you have a shanked bit, as well as your girth before you remount in the class. Big penalties for forgetting.
Cowboy Magic Green Spot Remover works well for last minute touch ups or overnight stains. :-)
OK, so a huge storm (with tornado warnings and everything) whipped up, plus there were stock car races that night (the race track is literally right next to the arenas), so I ended up not going on Sunday -- so no video. I'm working on setting up another day, though... There's a show Wednesday night I'm going to, so maybe that morning.
However, they did release the patterns finally (The patterns are here, if you're curious: CLICK for PDF ) and I've decided that, unless Magic 'magically' does a 180 on her leads/loping, I'll probably stay out of the horsemanship class (if anything, I'd enter the Green class). But I'm still thinking the Walk/Trot Equitation class and maybe Western Pleasure, still. The person running the show should be e-mailing me today with what those two classes entail, so I think I've got that question answered. But thank you for the help, BuckOff and Scoutrider.
@Cowboys girl: I actually sort of started her off going in figure eights, around two barrels, first at a trot, then into a slow lope before I ran her -- more or less to get a feel for turning without thinking about the pattern. She does, by herself, bend around the barrels pretty nicely, without any sort of direction from me, but it seems to be more the space between the barrels where she wanders off. But I will try circling that one barrel next time we go out, too.
Oh, and I did find something similar to that green spot remover you mentioned, Scoutrider. I'll go out to buy some and give it a try.
So the pleasure show was today, and I think I did pretty good. the Western Pleasure and Walk-Trot ended up being just rail work, so no problem with them. (I even got brave and put Magic in a halter class! XD )
Green Halter - Magic - 2nd
Showmanship - Bandit - 2nd
Walk-Trot - Magic - 3rd
Western Pleasure - Magic - 4th
Magic still refused to lope consistently, so it's something I'll have to work on more. Plus, she was horridly herd sour outside the ring, and inside the ring, she behaved like an angel except for constant neighing and refusing to lope. DX And she got fed up with a little sorrel horse that had a really slow trot... we kept ending up behind her and Magic didn't want to leave the rail. But at least I know what's in the classes and what Magic needs to work on.
And Bandit... he needs to remember how to pivot. That was his problem (plus I messed up the pattern. XP ).
Oh, and I got Magic doing some *amazing* turns around a barrel in the warm up pen! I was more on accident, because I was just putting her into a lope, and there just so happened to be a barrel in the pen, so I turned her around it once, just to play around. Then later they took the barrel away, and she decided to turn around the spot where the barrel was on her own. 0_o
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