How do I determine if my horse could do barrel racing?
Ok so i have a 10-year-old AQH gelding who ive had since he was 5. The previous owners did roping with him(ive seen this) and they also said that he did barrels, but i dont know if this is true. Ive mainly just done trail riding for 5 years. Well now im 16 and i really want to do barrels and gymkhana. So many girls keep telling me that my horse is to old to start doing this. He's only 10!! Are they wrong? OK so my question..my horse can haul butt when hes following another horse but alone, i cant get him to get up and go like barrel horses do. Im considering getting a trainer. If he doesnt have this get up and go does that mean that he cant do it? or is there things that you can do to get them to be motivated? Thanks for any advice.
Yes, they are wrong about him being too old to start barrels. In fact, if he has a good basic training background (leg yielding, lead changes, etc.), that is half of the battle with barrel racing. Also, I think it would be better to start a little older rather than younger with a horse because it is sooooo, sooo, soooo hard on their legs physically (bones & tendons).
It might be a good idea to get involved with a trainer if you want to learn barrels. Some things to keep in mind regardless: you should not immediatel expect to do a full speed run on the barrels - wait until both of you have the pattern down well (pacing, positioning, balance, etc.). You should spend most of your time working through the pattern at a walk, trot, and canter. Save the full speed runs for at the races and maybe one practice run before each race. Horse get burned out mentally and physically when they are RUN full speed through the pattern too many times in a row. Also, be sure to mix it up with him...keep up that trail riding to give his mind a chance to calm down and relax.
It is quite possible that if he was involved in roping in the past, he has had some experience with barrels, but if not, it is really pretty easy to teach them and get them "patterned", especially if he already knows the basics.
As for the speed thing, barrels are very high adreniline, and as your horse becomes patterned, be will begin to associate barrels with running, and in time, you will have to work hard to keep him from running the pattern. That is why you will want to spend most of your time at the walk, trot, and canter rather than run, run, run. Of course, some horses have more natural affininity toward that kind of sport than others, but they really do get that barrels means run. I would not worry too much right now about adding tons of speed - it will come as both of you get better and you are able to add more energy to your runs.
I would encourage you to keep doing things other than barrels, and keep working on the basics (soft on bit, supple, etc.). I can't tell you how many horses that I have seen at rodeos, barrel jack pots, and gymkanas that have their heads straight up in the air, pushed hard against the end of a tie down, bucking, rearing, dancing in place, and so on. You will have to work hard to keep your horse level headed.
Thank you so much AKPaintLover for the response. See the thing is is that yes my horse knows the basics he just doesnt have much get up and go. I just want to bring this out in him. Yeah me and this girl were going back and forth because she was telling me that you had to have a 7-year-old horse to do barrels, no other age. Yes i would definitely still take him out on the trails once a week. But are there any exercises that i can practice that have to do with barrels but are not actually running the barrels? Yeah see when my horse is galloping behind or with another horse, let me tell you hes got some speed. So i know he has the potential. If not barrels what other sports would you reccommend? Im not really into cows.
yes what they told you was wrong i know a horse that was 16 when it was first started on barrels..and since we was used for roping he should be really fimilar with a few thing..what you could try is to start driving him in on circles to see if he will flex his head for you if he does you should be pretty good :D :D if you need any more detailed advice you can just send me a message and i can tell you a whole bunch on it :D
yeah he can do all the basics of barrels...youd be surprised how much he knows. he does flying lead changes so smooth you sometimes cannot even tell. its just the fact of getting him to do it cause hes lazy. can you tell me any exercises for me to practice on to make him be less lazy and more motivated? preparation exercises for barrels?
Well, when I work on barrels with Blu I just start at a walk going through the barrel pattern. Although I do start at the left side with him and that takes getting used to. Pay attention to what side they start better one. After going around once or twice in a walk I graduate to a trot. One or two times. Lope...or canter...then I go through one good run and cool him out. Hope this helps! :-)
If you pm me I would be glad to give you more tips or anything if you need it :-D
i pm'ed you blumagic
I agree with everyone else. I barrel race as well, and my horse was 5 when I started to train her for barrels. Her original owner even had the nerve to tell me that she wouldn't be good for barrels (She's a 14.3hh Arabian). Well, we're running barrels now and winning. Yes, she competes against faster, more powerful horses.
But back on topic, when I first started out, I didn't really know much about barrels and just one day decided I wanted to run them. I read all the books, and watched all the videos I could find on the topic. I even had people to help me when I started training and the one thing that they beat into my head was to START SLOW.
I see so many girls just run, run, run. Even in practice. You do that and you can completely ruin a horse.
And the girls that told you your horse is too old are wrong. I'm willing to bet once you start running barrels with him, you'll show them a thing or two. :wink:
When I was a kid I did barrels with my pleasure mare at open shows and 4-h we had a ball! Of course she never placed not fast enough but it was fun.
I think you will have an advantage over allot of barrel horses starting later your horse will not get hot and crazy about it as is also mentioned. There are horses cutting way older than 10 and we all know how hard that sport is on them physically...
So do your thing have fun at it and ignore unwarranted criticism.
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