Starting Barrel Racing
Well I've offically decided that because Chinga is only getting jumped once a week we need something else to do. Apart from work on our amazing flat work and stunts. So I thought up teaching him all the Western Type Games *eg: Bending, Western Bending, Barrels, Key Hole, Flags* So we are starting off with Barrel Racing. How do we start? By just walking the pattern and then when he feels comfortable and has "Worked it out" start trotting then cantering and so on?
Here's a good little website
You're on the right track by just letting him get used to the pattern to start off with. Make sure you set up your arena with the right specs too
"The barrel distances for a standard size arena (130 ft. wide by 200 ft. long) are as follows: from the score line (starting line) to the 1st and 2nd barrels is 60 feet. The distance between the first and second barrels is 90 feet, and the distance from the 1st and 2nd barrels to the 3rd barrel is 105 feet.
A good run for this size of arena would be any time under a 17.50.
This is a pretty large arena and remember that all arenas are not the same. So, if you would like a smaller pattern, reduce the distances by 5-10 foot increments for each measurement."
Why do you need to do so much? Sounds like he has a pretty full on week, I would just trail ride.
Just be sure your horse won't get too used to running. For jumping you need a nice controlled pace, for barrel racing, you scramble like mad to the finish line. I'd do it at a canter rather than gallop so I didn't mess up the horse.
We jump one day a week and we don't ride Monday or Tuesday. So they are his two rest days then Wednesday is light flatwork, Thursday whatever I feel like, usually bare back or something stupid:) Friday Anything, Saturday - I have a lesson so he gets worked in the afternoon and it is usually a light flat work and Sunday is the real work out and we do jumping. He also loves to do differant things. Also we don't have an area to trail ride.
I think you will be okay mixing jumping and barrel racing. It's good to get them exposed to different things.
Thanks Spastic Drove, we started walking around three barrels the other day and he seemed to like it alot, we are no where near ready for cantering the patten yet. Or even trotting at that matter!
Are you planning on doing barrels just for fun, or are you going to do them to do your best and try to move up in shows?
Definitely work the games in a controlled fashion, given his OTT status...especially since you are finally getting him decently in hand. You don't want to wind up back where you started. But I agree, it is quite fun to do several different things...switch things up, to keep things interesting for both horse and rider. You could always incorporate more ground exercises as well, especially on days he seems overly excitable, that way you are both safer, but you still get something accomplished.
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