Exercises to help improve our time?
I have a POA/QH cross gelding named Putts, and I was wondering how I could make him a good barrel horse. He likes to run and definitly has the spark to do it. I have barrel raced him before, but not much. I want to be able to do 17 second runs, our fastest is 19 seconds. Have you got any tips for me?
Not really. I don't know if this will make you faster but i do the rodeo queen pattern. My horse really love it. Also he love the figure 8.
you going to think I'm nuts but.. lots of slow work!
work on getting him more sensitive to your cues.. circling, flexing, moving laterally - don't over pattern him, but working on the slow work to improve communication and getting him more responsive to cues will help you
It takes anywhere from 6 months to 2 years for a horse to be solid, consistent and finished on the pattern and running their best runs.
It takes time, patients, and lots and lots of slow work to train a horse on the pattern and to be correct.
I suggest you find someone knowledgable about training barrel horses in your area because hands-on training really is best. However, you can also read books or watch DVDs by many great barrel racers such as Sherry Cervi, Charmayne James, Martha Josey, and Sharon Camarillo just to name a few to start.
Also, it means nothing to us to say you had a "19 second run" because we have no idea what size pattern you ran and the ground conditions. The only way you can possibly compare one run to another is if it is run on the designated WPRA standard pattern where it is 90 feet from Barrel 1 to Barrel 2, 105 feet from Barrel 1 or 2 to Barrel 3, and 60 feet from the timeline. And on that size pattern, I believe the current world record is in the low 16's (although I can't recall exactly at this moment).
I agree with the slow work and time. I trained both my horses. I'm in it for the fun. Lots of walking the pattern. Even when you think the horse knows it, keep walking. Then move to trotting. Whatever gait you are doing, as to get to the barrel to make your turn, make the horse slow one gait (if you are trotting, make him walk around the barrel. if you are walking, make him stop before making turn). This will help learn to "rate."
This is what I did. Worked for me. Some may not agree, some will.
I did have a barrel trainer tell me this once: Races are not won by speed but by completing your turns and running straight lines.
My horses are consistent in low 17 secs. But as said earlier, it took 6 monts to a year for both horses to finally get the flick. And the training never stops.
No not necessarily.
The arena size is going to dictate what the pattern size is. You need to have a large arena to have a standard pattern, because it is a large pattern. The majority of arenas are not big enough to accommodate that. And indoor arenas certainly are not anywhere near close to a standard pattern.
So some NBHA's may use the standard pattern size if the arena size allows, but most don't. Just because it is NBHA doesn't make it anything special. The pattern size is just like any other barrel race where the arena size determines the pattern size.
The current world record on the WPRA standard pattern is a 16.643 by Nicole Aichele and her horse Biankus French Girl.
Compare that to the current world record at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas (very small indoor arena) where Sherry Cervi and Stingray just set it this past year at a 13.49 seconds. The arena are the NFR is:
---60 feet 10 inches from barrel 1 to barrel 2
---69 feet 8 inches from barrel 1 or 2 to barrel 3
---12 feet to the electric eye
So my point is, there is NO way that you can compare Sherry's run to Nicole's run because they were ran on two different size patterns.
I agree, it takes time. You have to condition your horse, let alone get the pattern to be more fun. I race against co-workers for fun, and so far my best has been 20 seconds on a TWH mare ... pretty sure I cheated (I was against a lazy Missouri Trotter gelding and a Barrel trainee Mustang mix) because this mare is naturally pretty frisky and quick. Lol Not sure of the size of the pattern, outside of it's fairly small compared to the outdoor one we run in a side pasture in the warmer months.
In addition, make it fun. I think the most important thing is to not do the pattern too much! We usually run them 3 times; practice, and then 2 timed. After that we move on to other exercises: small jumps, pole bending, and simple roaming the arena. My friend Sarah and I also recently began to "race" our horses (an adaptation of the key hole race; we race down and go around a single barrel, each of us on the left side of our barrel, round it and come home on the opposite side). There have also been times where we bring our horses in and simply walk and trot them through all of this.
Don't expect a gold medalist in a few weeks. It takes a lot of time to get a "good" barrel horse. (:
There is SO much more involved in barrel racing than just a whippin' and a spurrin' around 3 cans as fast as you can. Which is why entire books and hours upon hours of DVD footage has been devoted to just get a small understanding of the sport.
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