What's up with our first barrel?...
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 :)
The horse is either seriously lame...or you're not cueing him correctly. ..or both. Looks like both to me.
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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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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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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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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
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.
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.
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.
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.
You lean to the side, and forward. Don't lean. Stay up right in your saddle.
Leaning forward heavily. You also turned him WAY too soon (like you do for most of your barrels). This was the barrel you knocked.
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 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.
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 :)
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.
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.
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.
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 :)
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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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.
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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