Beginning to Barrrel Race! My Adventure!
I have always loved watching barrel racing at
horse shows and events and I always wanted to
give it a go myself. Yesterday was that day...
I decided I would sit up some barrels in Ace's pasture.
Then,I saddled him up and led with a lead rope around
the course, stopping for a brief few seconds at each barrel
before rounding them.
After a few times of repeating the course pattern, I
mounted him and tried it at a walk. He had a little difficulty
...his only problem is that he didn't cut close to the barrels
as he supposed to.On the last barrel, however he was
wonderful, he cut close to it and I got him to actually run a
little bit after rounding it! :D :D :D
For his and I first time practicing, I think we did a
great job, I was so proud of Ace, I really had doubted
him and I could even do it! <3
Any barrel racing tips would be greatly appreciated! :)
First and foremost.
Like any new exercise, for barrel racing IS an exercise, get yourself and your horse a clean bill of health. Make sure your horse has the endurance, muscle mass, and sound mind to be able to work the barrels at top performance. She/he needs to be in top shape and have the endurance and muscles mass required to make tight turns and maintain appropriate speed.
I wish I can say that any horse can be a barrel horse, but sadly that's not true. Barrel horses need to have the best confirmation, athletic ability, and very good coordination to perform successfully.
If your horse is slacking in hindquarter muscle mass, then you are in need of an exercise routine that can help your horse build up the necessary muscles to help propel him/her around the barrels.
A lot of trail riding, climbing, walking/jogging up slight inclines (safely), backing up, and one-rein stops are all good exercises to build the muscle mass you need.
Next, using the barrels, walk tight circles around them 4-6 times working up to a jog, at each barrel.
Practice sitting correctly in the seat. Proper balance is a MUST in maintaining your seat and keeping and maintaining your speed around each barrel. Try riding in a arena/round pen in a saddle with no stirrups and have a friend longe your horse at different speeds. Practice riding bareback, get the feel of your balance and the way your horse moves.
Work on having a soft hand on the reins, while still maintaining maximum control. Over-bitting your horse can reduce it's speed and cause you to lose momentum in a turn. Practice with different bits to see which one works best for you and gives you better control during reining cues. It would be a very good idea to work on your driving skills and your horses response... making sure she/he can turn at/follow the slightest cues.
A big No-no in barrel racing is looking anywhere, but where you are heading while rounding a barrel. Practice looking forward while making turns.... always looking ahead of you and not down. Keep your shoulders up and don't drop your chin, head, or your eyes, this causes you to sink lower in the saddle, throwing off your horses balance, hindering her/his speed and movement during turns.
Practice cuing your horse with the slightest movements possible. Any excessive movement can distract or confuse your horse. You are reaching for fluid movements and a steady seat in the saddle. Excessive movement can ruin your horses momentum and cause you to look sloppy in the saddle, possibly losing your seat all together. Exercise your body as well as your horses to maintain proper muscle-tone and flexibility. Practice fluid movements in the saddle.
Practice sitting in the middle of the saddle while conducting sharp turns and always make sure your weight stays in the middle of your seat, imagine having a fist behind you and in front of you keeping you directly in the middle of your seat.
Learn to affectively cue bends.
Try not to squeeze with your legs when rounding the barrels unless you are cuing for more speed. It's okay to issue bumps with your heels if you need more speed, but make sure not to lose your grip and swing your heels out to far. Keep your heels level with your toes and slightly back, even with or slightly behind the cinch strap, knees forward.....this keeps your weight centered. Try not to lean too much into the turns.
Practice rounding the barrels at a walk, building up to a fast jog, circling the barrel a few times before moving on to the next.
Work on your entrance run, and your exit. This can be crucial in your time. Practice cuing your horse from a stand to a fast jog towards the 1st barrel then lope/walk her/him back and try again. Gradually work up to circling your first barrel at a fast speed. Make sure to have plenty of rest time for you both between each exercise. Do this with your exit too. Complete a turn around your last barrel and cue your horse for a "hasty exit".
Also, let your horse have as much turn out as possible, you don't want him/her to burn out. Resting between each "round/running" of the barrels also helps avoid burn out.
You might want to try PM'ing Harlee Rides Horses - I know she barrel races ;)
Make sure that even at a walk you dont try and cut too close to the barrel. When you add speed, you'll end up knocking the barrel. Ride the pattern the same way you would at a walk as you would at a show.
And do tons of other stuff besides the pattern to keep her focused and happy.
Re: Beginning to Barrrel Race! My Adventure!
good luck with the barrel racing! lol i don't have any advice about barrel racing to give - i just wanted to say that i hope you and your horse enjoy yourselves, thats the most important part!!
wow thats great that he did so good for his first time!
i barrel race and have trained my own barrel horses so pm me for any specifics.... :)
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