Question for you barrel racers
First of all let me start off with saying I am not in anyway bashing barrel racing, in fact I'd love to barrel race if I had a fast enough horse and I enjoy watching. I am just curious why a lot of barrel racers don't get up off their horses backs between barrels or at least after the third barrel running home? I don't mean going around a barrel either, you obviously want to sit deep then. I see so many barrel racers that sit leaning back, hold the horn, and kick with both legs. Wouldn't it help your horse to hold the horn and lean forward to get your weight off them a bit rather than flopping around in the saddle? Not saying that ALL barrel racers do this either. Again I have never barrel raced, never rode in a barrel saddle either so I just don't know! Is it that saddle that makes it difficult to lean forward? I have only gamed english YEARS ago, which most of the riders get up in two point on the run home to allow their horses to stretch out and run hard.
When you go around the barrel you're supposed to sit up straight (don't lean to the side either), sit down deep in the saddle, hold on to the horn with your outside hand, pull your reins in your inside hand to your hip, and put pressure on his side with your inside leg. Leaning forward, to the side, and flopping around would throw him off balance resulting in a horrible turn and a possible knocked-over barrel; and both can make you lose time. Between barrels I always lean forward and kick. I didn't take your post as bashing barrel racing at all and I hope you get to try it out someday! :]
It's probably just how most of the riders you see ride. I've always been taught to lean forward and put my hands forward. I think it's more of a confidence issue. In the higher barrel associations you'll see most riders getting into a "half seat" position between barrels. a barrel saddle actually sits you forward. Maybe you can try it one day
Your post definetly doesn't seem like bashing. I agree. I sit for the turns but I get off their back at all other times. It seems like it would be way harder on the horse to run like that without any help.
I guess I was just watching some pretty bad riders haha:lol:
While I've never seen a barrel racer sit back and kick (maybe you're mistaken in the position you're thinking of?) I get royally SICK and tired of watching them lean down low and kick so bloody hard they're BOUNCING up and down in the saddle. These nitwits need a good strong dose of physics 101 if they think they're actually helping their horse go faster by slamming up and down, waving their arms around to hit him with their reins and kicking like a lunatic.
I will never understand how anyone can think doing this produces speed - you sure as heck don't see a jockey bouncing around and kicking! I don't necessarily agree with all the whipping that's done in racing either, there's a fine line between encouragement and stupidity because you aren't going to convince a tired horse to go any faster just be whipping, kicking or bouncing!
I always do a half-seat, bend down low for good aerodynamics, and use my voice as encouragement! If I ever kicked my Arab mare around that third barrel, we'd lose about 3 seconds off our run from her faltering in shock. All I have to do is holler or kiss and hang on for dear life coming out of that turn!
This woman owns the stallion she's riding who I just ADORE - they're the local barrel racing champs right now, along with pole bending and I believe reserve champs at keyhole for 2009. Her style and training of this animal says it all about a winning barrel run - I know she's not pro yet, but this is what I love to see AND seem to be seeing more of which is delightful (a girl won this year at the biggest event we have in rodeo, and part of the pro circuit, riding in almost this same manner with a beautifully quiet and well trained explosive monster of a horse).
YouTube - Mary-Anne Bach on "Smokes Remedy" running at the Todd Stiles Memorial Race in Brandon 2008
There are things she could probably change for a better run, maybe a bit more half seat and getting lower, but just being so QUIET is going to make an AMAZING difference to your run!
^^That's what I always wondered too. How they expect a horse to really stretch out and fly when they are getting jabbed in the ribs at every stride. To my way of thinking, the horse would start to shorten it's stride in an attempt to lift it's belly and protect the ribs from being stabbed? I know that's what green horses do when you bump them, lift their belly and shorten their stride. I can't imagine it being much different for an older horse, especially one that is anticipating pain at every stride. Also, I don't know about anybody else but all I really have to do is lean forward a bit and squeeze and my horses will give me everything they've got. If you have to spur and whip to get them to really run, then they aren't happy doing the job and will never be great at it.
MM, I do like how quiet that girl is with her legs.
A lot of barrel racers get into a rythym with the running horse. And some are taught that kicking with every stride is for extension, what they don't realize is that the gallop is already full out so extension isn't particularly an option. Or at least that it'staufht that why by the barrel trainers around here. And with the kicking, there comes the flopping. It sucks, but not all of us do it.
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I don't spur or whip when I run, nor do I kick so hard I flap haha. In my opinion, if your horse likes it, you should have to "beat" them to run anyway.
You also have to understand that styles differ from rider to rider and horse to horse. My OTT horse you have to sit down more in between barrels than my other horse. If you don't, he'll throw it up a few too many gears and wont carry enough collection going into the barrels. You have to keep him balanced and driving up into the barrel, but can't jockey him up into the pocket.
My other horse, who's just started on barrels, is an easier style... more or less kick and go. Just sit down in the turns. Either way, it's not my style to get up over a horse. I like to feel like my butt is in the saddle and driving my horse up to where I need him. So that when things happen, like in this run... I'm still centered and riding. (Slipped on the first barrel on his front end, tripped at the second barrel)
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