Barrel Horse with no rate..bit help?
My new horse has changed a lot for some reason I can not figure out. When I first got her we went to the Martha Josey clinic and she had beautiful turns. Now, she is turning really wide, she won't rate at all, and she is running right through the bit. I had in her the Martha Josey O ring Combination bit (Circle Y Martha Josey O-ring Combination Bit 120) and I switched her to a gag bit with a twisted wire mouth and a dog bone in the middle which lightens up some of the pressure on her mouth. I thought she was doing fine in that bit until I took her out into the arena and she ran through it just like the other bit. I even had my friend who is a very competitive barrel racer hop on her and she ran so wide they hit the fence on the first turn.
I am not sure at this point what to do. I dont know why she changed so suddenly (within two months). I am still riding the same and we thought it was her hocks at first so we got them injected and there is still no change.
Any advice would be awesome!!! Please send links too!
First off, welcome to the forum :D.
Fiinx, I am willing to bet money that your mare's problem doesn't have anything to do with the bit, problems like this seldom do. First thing you should really do is have her teeth checked by a dentist and check her back to ensure that she's not in pain somewhere.
After that's done, if her teeth/back aren't the problem, then what she needs is some re-training. If it was me, I would put her back into a simple snaffle (smooth, not twisted) and go back to working on the basics. Get her supple and responsive on the flat before you even look at the pattern again and when you do start her back, start her back slow as if she had never been patterned before.
Also, not to sound harsh, but if this is a sudden onset problem since you started riding her, perhaps you need to have a professional help you to re-evaluate the way that you ride just to see if you're doing something to cause this problem.
She needs to come OFF the barrels until the problem is fixed. Smrobs' "general" advice is good.
Your horse does NOT need to be running right now. She needs to be learning subtleties and softness. Get her riding off of your seat and legs, not your hands. The reins/bit are not the brakes. They simply allow for ease of the rating cue.
When you do, eventually, after a lot of re-training, come back to barrels, start with slow work. Make her trot up to the barrel, stop (on a "whoa" and sit-down command, not on a yank of the reins), back up, and wait. Do a rollback in the opposite direction if you have to to get the point across. Then walk around the barrel, trot to the next one, and repeat. Repeat the whole thing at a lope, too. Don't allow her to anticipate or to rush. If she stops rating and starts going wide, slow her back down and reinforce her stop off the seat again.
We did have her teeth done and her back is good. She is also on joint supplements and has the best farrier we could ask for. And she does love to run so I think that's where your advice might prove helpful!!! I think in April when I did the clinic it was my first couple runs on her and now that we are showing every weekend, she has gotten more hyped up and that might be why also...Do you think this is a possibility.
Question..if I need to do the rollback in the opposite direction, do I go back to the starting point or circle her and try it again?
Well, the Josey O-gag has pretty much no rate to speak of.
The point I disagree on with smrobs is the necessity of going back to a snaffle. I don't think that has to be the case. I would ditch the gadgety Josey combos and go to a simpler curb, though. Something like an Argentine or loose-jawed, wide-ported grazing bit, depending on how your horse works.
Rollback? Roll her around right where you stopped her, so you end up still at the entrance to your pocket. Then turn the barrel like normal.
Oh okay. That makes sense now! Thank you. can you maybe send some links of what bits you are talking about exactly so I can see what they look like?
and for getting her subtle again...do you know of any workouts i could do?
Thanks so much I really appreciate it! :)
The three above are good for general Western riding and training--they aren't specifically/necessarily barrel racing bits, but they can help you on the road to achieving brokeness.
For exercises, trail ride her! Set up some barrels/poles/cones in a different pattern and work on turning those. Keep her guessing and listening to you. And keep things slow and collected for awhile.
Thank-you!! that first bit kind of reminds me of the Wonder bit except without the rings part where you can use it as a snaffle...do you think that would work the same? I know I have a wonder bit...
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