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Hang on Fi 11-15-2013 07:29 PM

What's up with our first barrel?...
 
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Hey guys!

First off I don't barrel race or game competitively, we do it for fun :) I am looking for help on our first barrel, but don't be too brutal on me :lol: Please read the whole post too, some important things are trickled through it.

I have attached the video from this past weekend, I'm on the dun (which is predominately in the video).

Logan has ALWAYS had this spiel on the first barrel, ever since I started gaming. I'm sure the problem arose from two things 1) He doesn't like, or honestly just doesn't know, how to use his rear end 2) More often than not we go in to the barrel too hot.

He knows his job on the 3rd barrel and always turns it perfectly. However, the first and occasionally the second can be rough for us.

You can see in the barrel clip of this video I went in slow and wide on the first barrel, and he still blew around it as if he had to stare at the barrel. I even goosed him a couple of times with my outside leg to push him over. Fortunately I don't hover over his shoulders like I used to, but I still don't think I'm sitting far enough back for him.

What I have done in the past is tried starting slow. Walking to the barrel, stopping where he'd be "checked", and continue walking around. Executing this to the trot and the canter. Even at the trot Logan will swing his rump around. He is aware of leg aids, but seems less inclined to cooperate in the heat of the moment.

I run him in a snaffle.

Pain has not been determined or dismissed. I just heard from my farrier this last week he noticed that he wears his left rear hoof toe flat. While he acknowledged he is not a vet, he said this could be a sign of potential unsoundness if not current. I plan to get an exam for him and some hock injections in the near future. That being said, I gamed him off and on for the last four years.

He is 20 and I've had him for 6 years, not sure what his life was before me.

Anyway, with all that fluff out of the way. I don't look to seriously compete, but I would like to cure this first barrel hitch (if possible) at home. If there isn't a "home remedy" without a trainer, then I'll just let it go. We don't compete for money or very seriously, but we all would like a faster turn ;)

Thank you :)


1RedHorse 11-15-2013 11:41 PM

The horse is either seriously lame...or you're not cueing him correctly. ..or both. Looks like both to me.
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CLaPorte432 11-16-2013 12:02 AM

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Ill be blunt and honest, This horse was not properly trained for gaming.

Hes been pushed too fast, too soon.

And the holes in his training are now showing...Unfortunately its not just his first barrel thats an issue. Its all of them.

He also looks sore and ticked off. At 20, Id suspect he has something physically going on thats causing pain.
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Hang on Fi 11-16-2013 12:24 AM

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Quote:

Originally Posted by CLaPorte432 (Post 4111377)
Ill be blunt and honest, This horse was not properly trained for gaming.

Hes been pushed too fast, too soon.

And the holes in his training are now showing...Unfortunately its not just his first barrel thats an issue. Its all of them.

He also looks sore and ticked off. At 20, Id suspect he has something physically going on thats causing pain.
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You are correct on multiple levels, he wasn't trained for gaming. He came to me as a trail horse, I started gaming since he showed a knack for speed. Being your typical teen I didn't bother with the slow stuff. And it shows. I wish I would've paid more mind, but it was for fun. He's been a saint.

Logan has always, regardless of age, had a nasty game face, flat back wards are not unlike him. However, upon I tacking I realized twitching along his withers. My saddle is treeless and is to blame. Sadly I was unfair to him. I don't weight 140lbs anymore, he needed a tree'd saddle. He was sensitive through his shoulders and withers. He has an appointment in the near future to hopefully remedy the problem. I already convinced he hubby to invest in a massage therapist for him. I believe he would benefit from both significantly.

I appreciate your honesty. I would be the first to admit we are all go and no 'gymnastics'. And I'm alright with admitting that, I felt the first barrel was our worst, but as you mentioned... He has plenty of holes and he should. He's never had proper training, guess I'm a weekend gamer :p

Thank you for the honesty :) I won't lie that it takes some wind out of my sails, but I value his health over my ego.
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CLaPorte432 11-16-2013 12:50 AM

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Everyone makes mistakes. Ive been there. When I started racing, I had a saint of a Paint gelding (who II'd trade the world to have back now) And he taught me a lot. We trained together and learned. He wasn't the fastest, but he was just natural at it.

Then I bought a POA, who was way faster and needed retraining. He had all go and no finess. He was run hard. It took a whole season of retraining his bad habits out before we were a team.

In the mean time, once the POA was running and winning, I had a 5 year old mare. I was 14/15. I wanted to run. She was faster then the POA and I wanted to win. I ruined her. She turned into a spoiled, blonde, brat that popped up/reared and had arena issues. It took years, YEARS to retrain her. And she still needs to be led up into the arena. Once she's in, she's okay.

I learned my lesson the hard way. Back then I wanted to do everything myself and I knew it all. Ha.

Now I look back at how stupid I was and I put my pride aside. I ask for help, I ask for advice, and I will send my horse to a trainer. :D Live and Learn.

...And love on those horses that are saints through our stupidity.
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beau159 11-17-2013 09:29 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)
He is 20 and I've had him for 6 years, not sure what his life was before me.

What appalls me is that you've had this horse for 6 years and you are now just realizing there is something wrong. :shock:

You horse is in PAIN. Big time. With a waving red flag with blinking lights.

My first guess is that the problem is in his back end, since he refuses to use it in a turn, but that is not always the case. Could be out in his back, or it easily could be a combination of things since it sounds like this horse has never had a thorough examination with an equine vet.

What a great horse you have there, who continues to try his best for you, even though he is in pain, the rider is cueing him wrong....

I'm glad that you at least realize you errors. We get a lot of people who are in denial about the truth, so at least we have a starting place we can work from.

Obviously, you should not even be riding your horse at this point, until you give him the medical attention he is due.
1) Equine lameness specialist
2) Chiropractor
3) Massage
4) Dentist

And whoever is riding the bay in your video should also have him checked out. I see several things with that horse as well, predominately that he wings out severely with his right front foot.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)

Logan has ALWAYS had this spiel on the first barrel, ever since I started gaming. I'm sure the problem arose from two things 1) He doesn't like, or honestly just doesn't know, how to use his rear end 2) More often than not we go in to the barrel too hot.

Neither of those reasons are the reason.

He clearly loves his job, since he continues to try so hard for you, despite all these things against him.

The reason(s) is 1) Pain 2) Pushed too fast on gaming events before he was properly trained 3) Cued wrong by the rider.

He's just trying his darndest for you to understand what you want. You just aren't helping him.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)
You can see in the barrel clip of this video I went in slow and wide on the first barrel, and he still blew around it as if he had to stare at the barrel. I even goosed him a couple of times with my outside leg to push him over.

So you've instilled PAIN and bad cueing on him for 4 years, and you expect him to turn a barrel perfectly just because you went slow one time?

This is going to be a very, very difficult habit to break. And you didn't create those bad habits overnight (you created them over 4 years of gaming) so it is going to take long time (months or years) to rehabilitate him.


Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)
What I have done in the past is tried starting slow. Walking to the barrel, stopping where he'd be "checked", and continue walking around. Executing this to the trot and the canter. Even at the trot Logan will swing his rump around. He is aware of leg aids, but seems less inclined to cooperate in the heat of the moment.

You can school him all you want, but it isn't going to do any good until you get his pain taken care of.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)
I plan to get an exam for him and some hock injections in the near future.

While there's a very good chance he does have an issue with his hocks due to his age and the way he moves, I wouldn't be so hasty to just slap some injections in him.

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hang on Fi (Post 4109809)
Anyway, with all that fluff out of the way. I don't look to seriously compete, but I would like to cure this first barrel hitch (if possible) at home. If there isn't a "home remedy" without a trainer, then I'll just let it go. We don't compete for money or very seriously, but we all would like a faster turn ;)

Nothing wrong with staying at the same level you are at now (everyone has different goals) but you at least owe it to this horse to get him pain-free.


I just wanted to highlight this picture from your GoPro, because it was one of many turns that he was just screaming "I hurt!". Watch his ears. Watch his facial expression. Watch how he bobs.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...ps2e456630.jpg


You lean to the side, and forward. Don't lean. Stay up right in your saddle.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...ps1999d537.jpg


Leaning forward heavily. You also turned him WAY too soon (like you do for most of your barrels). This was the barrel you knocked.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...ps8f4120f7.jpg

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record: Again, leaning forward. And you are looking AT the barrel. Never look at the barrel. You need to look where you want your horse to go. Do you want your horse to run on top of the barrel? Nope. So look at the spots on the ground around the barrel where you want your horse's feet to go.

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k2...ps5c7b0989.jpg


I would also shorten your reins. They are too long.

You also have a habit of what I call "chicken arms". You are pumping your arms when he runs so that they look like a flapping chicken. Keep your hands and arms quiet. Use your body to drive him forward.

As I already mentioned, you typically cue him too soon to turn. And he doesn't have the correct bend in his body before the turn to make the turn. And therefore, you could use a little better body control with him.

Check out this thread. Lots of good info here.

http://www.horseforum.com/barrel-rac...drills-116865/

Hang on Fi 11-17-2013 11:44 AM

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Please do not read my posts as overly defensive, I tried my best not to put into text that way and just be direct... But it's tough online. I find your information valuable and I appreciate the effort and energy to post... I have my response to your quotes below them :)

Quote:

Originally Posted by beau159 (Post 4120601)
What appalls me is that you've had this horse for 6 years and you are now just realizing there is something wrong. :shock:

The inclination he's been in pain for six years is a bit unfair. He's ridden perhaps a dozen times throughout the year. So, the unfairness in me is asking him to haul butt without the proper gymnastics. I get that, I acknowledge and I volunteered that information. Bad judgment, period.

As far as I knew there was nothing wrong with him until the last few years. We aren't all born to know the signs of our horses nor is it predominately natural. I think it is unfair to assume he's always been this way and that I have ignored his cries of pain. I hate that he's uncomfortable and I hate it even more than I wasn't more aware when the signs became evident and I was too na´ve to notice them.

I'm not an expert. Nor has anyone come up to me to express concern for my horses "pain." Even in the years of sharing random videos here and there Every horse handles something differently, I am not arguing he's in discomfort, especially now.
ights.

Quote:

My first guess is that the problem is in his back end, since he refuses to use it in a turn, but that is not always the case. Could be out in his back, or it easily could be a combination of things since it sounds like this horse has never had a thorough examination with an equine vet.
This I agree, I believe the problem is localized in his rear end, hence the idea for injections. However, I had no intentions of slapping injections into his hocks without proper examination. I understand your concern because I didn't elaborate that I was going to "Hey, slap those injections without any consideration to the real problem." They aren't a one-stop fix, I understand that, he needs a thorough examination and that was my intended plan.

Quote:

What a great horse you have there, who continues to try his best for you, even though he is in pain, the rider is cueing him wrong....
Yes, he's an incredible horse that has endured a lot and unfortunately a lot of pain. I am not a professional barrel racer nor do I intend to come off as one. I have plenty of flaws and he's been more than a saint and a hard worker for me making things much harder than they should be with him.

Quote:

Obviously, you should not even be riding your horse at this point, until you give him the medical attention he is due.
1) Equine lameness specialist
2) Chiropractor
3) Massage
4) Dentist
Logan is rarely ridden. I think I had two rides on him before the show. I know, a glaring "How dare you ride so hard so out of shape!" That being said this was a "hurry up and wait" show so when I wasn't in the ring, I was on the ground walking him around.

This was his second show through the entire year. He is more of a pasture puff and has been the last several years and no one would know that unless I stated it. I apologize

He's already had his teeth done a few months ago. I have an evaluation for both lameness and massage in the next month. I already had the ball rolling on these before I posted.

Quote:

He clearly loves his job, since he continues to try so hard for you, despite all these things against him.

The reason(s) is 1) Pain 2) Pushed too fast on gaming events before he was properly trained 3) Cued wrong by the rider.

He's just trying his darndest for you to understand what you want. You just aren't helping him.
I haven't had a harder worker and more tolerant horse than Logan. He's always gives 100% of himself to his job when I ask him. He's never had proper training for games, I was a teenage her knew he could go fast, which meant "Hey! He can game!" Without any regards to training. I think we all do that in a na´ve part of our life when we live in a non-equine related family. I'm the only one who rides and the last five or six years have been alone.

I'm 24, I'm only recently learning of saddle fitment amongst other things. I will say again, I'm still learning. We all are. We're never completely up to date. I only defend myself on this because, well, you don't know if I know it or not. I wish I knew every sign and every bit that entailed to make my horse comfortable, but I don't. I can only learn more through others.

Quote:

So you've instilled PAIN and bad cueing on him for 4 years, and you expect him to turn a barrel perfectly just because you went slow one time?
Again, he's ridden a handful of times throughout the years, he has been to one show per last two years and the first year of four he went to two shows. This year was the first time he'd been to 2 in one year since the start of the four years. A remark I left out, I apologize for the confusion.


Quote:

Nothing wrong with staying at the same level you are at now (everyone has different goals) but you at least owe it to this horse to get him pain-free.
I have no intentions of progressing. I've always gamed for fun, not competition. When I did "serious" aka one show for money, it was too much for me (and him). I get stressed out and he's incredibly in tune with me, it threw him off... So I chose backyard horse shows to stick with and very happy with the ones I go to :)


Quote:

You lean to the side, and forward. Don't lean. Stay up right in your saddle.
Agreed, I lean forward and to the side terribly. Has always been a bad habit, one established through solo riding so no one has harked at my ear to sit up and straight.


Quote:

And at the risk of sounding like a broken record: Again, leaning forward. And you are looking AT the barrel. Never look at the barrel. You need to look where you want your horse to go. Do you want your horse to run on top of the barrel? Nope. So look at the spots on the ground around the barrel where you want your horse's feet to go.
I was very torqued off when I kept catching myself looking at the barrel, believe me ;) I will be sure to remember this if there's another time on gaming him.


Quote:

I would also shorten your reins. They are too long.
Understood =]

Quote:

You also have a habit of what I call "chicken arms". You are pumping your arms when he runs so that they look like a flapping chicken. Keep your hands and arms quiet. Use your body to drive him forward.
Ugh, yes I do... I get so wrapped up in what I'm doing I tend to throw my arms and look like a fool. I'll remember the chicken image and that'll do the trick ;)

Quote:

As I already mentioned, you typically cue him too soon to turn. And he doesn't have the correct bend in his body before the turn to make the turn. And therefore, you could use a little better body control with him.

Check out this thread. Lots of good info here.

http://www.horseforum.com/barrel-rac...drills-116865/
Thank you for the link, I'll be sure to check it out :)

This perhaps would be our last gaming show, not for the problems, but Logan may be heading to TX where a friend of mine will be using him for her munchkins. He's been such a darned good horse that deserves "retirement" aka "babysitting" would be an enjoyable job for him. He's impeccable with kids and, well, he deserves it.

I appreciate the advice and like I said in the beginning of my response, I hope I don't come off as overly defensive, I certainly don't mean to at all... There were factors I hadn't told you that you only could assume from.

Thank you :)

CLaPorte432 11-17-2013 12:03 PM

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Fi, I want to commend you for taking everything we have said in stride. You got alot of great advice and quite a bit of 'negative' feedback...or...constructive criticism. Yet you did not make excuses, didnt get defensive and thoroughly thought through what has been said. Good for you. Its hard to post something online and then get ripped apart, and NOT be defensive about it.

:-)
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beau159 11-17-2013 12:14 PM

I didn't see you coming off as defensive at all. As I said, you've got a lot more "level head" on you than some of the new folks that pop on these boards.

The difficulty in knowing if a horse is in pain or not is precisely why my horses get a lameness evaluation by a specialist once a year; even if I don't suspect anything. It gives me greater peace of mind to be proactive about their health (after all, I myself go in for yearly health check-ups) rather than waiting for obvious signs of pain to spring up and then taking them to the vet.

And you are correct. I will say "How dare you ride so hard so out of shape!"

Would you like to go run 10 sprints throughout the day when you've done nothing but sit on the couch for the past few months? Can you imagine how sore you'd be the next day? Or how easily you'd pull a muscle, strain a tendon, or twist an ankle because you are not in shape? I don't expect my horses to do anything I wouldn't do myself. I don't go run a marathon without properly preparing myself for months. They don't do gaming unless they are properly legged up and in shape. Running an out-of-shape horse hugely increases their risk of injury.

The fact that he's not properly legged up only solidifies the fact that it is instilled in his mind that doing gaming events hurts. Probably moreso because he is indeed not in shape.

I by no means know everything there is about horses and barrel racing. There are plenty of people on here who are much more knowledgeable than me. But as you already stated: Live and learn and strive to be better.

I have the chicken arms habit too. I have to mentally remind myself NOT to do it before every single run. Old habits die hard.

Dena Kirkpatrick has wonderful free videos on YouTube that are from her DVD series. Here's one of them that will take you to the rest. The fundamentals of barrel racing can be applied to basically any speed event.


Zexious 11-17-2013 01:14 PM

Maybe the part that you only ride a couple times a year is your problem?

I know that 20 isn't old (I'm always the first to say it, because my horse is that age and we still compete in the A and B circuits), but is definitely something that requires maintenance and tuning.
More so than just a couple rides here and there, and then a show.

He needs to be conditioned, and may need some medical maintenance. My horse gets hock injections every six-eight months (they usually range around 500-700) and they work really well for him.


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