Barrel racing/gymkhanas (: - Page 3

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Barrel racing/gymkhanas (:

This is a discussion on Barrel racing/gymkhanas (: within the Rodeo forums, part of the Western Riding category

View Poll Results: Which other gymkhana event do you like the best?
Flags 1 5.00%
Goat tying 1 5.00%
Pole bending 14 70.00%
Keyhole 4 20.00%
Voters: 20. You may not vote on this poll

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    11-23-2012, 02:40 PM
Green Broke
I love her:) Im jealous..
redclaybear likes this.
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    11-23-2012, 03:45 PM
Green Broke
I'm in about the same situation as you, OP.
I just started heading to barrel racing jackpots, before that, I just did some rodeos in the summer.

redclaybear likes this.
    11-24-2012, 02:33 AM
^^ you're doing really good!
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    11-29-2012, 11:15 AM
We don't bite so hard. Everyone has got to start somewhere! And I am no expert by any means; everyone can always learn something from someone else.

First of all, your mare is gorgeous! I love her!

It is good that you are not letting her go full-run speed yet; she is certainly not ready for that. However, I would encourage you to even slow it down a step further at this point. She doesn't appear to be ready to gallop the patterns yet. I want you to succeed and trust me: If you create bad habits now, and practice those bad habits over and over (so they become engrained in the horse), they are very hard to get rid of. I can say that from experience. The best part about learning, is you can learn from others mistakes, so you can avoid those same mistakes yourself!!

Don't think of this so much as a critique or critism, but as ways to grow, learn, and improve!

First thing I notice at the beginning of your video, is that he head is rather high while you are holding her up, which is making her back hollow out, which is making a rather rough ride! What bit are you using on her? It would be beneficial to work on some breaking at the poll exercises and some collection exercises. You want her rounded and collected when you approach the barrel, in order to make a smooth turn.

I also would shorten your reins up a bit. If you want your hand in the barrel turns, it is quite far out to the side. You don't really want your hand to leave the "imaginary box" around your saddle horn. You want to keep your hand quiet and low, and simply guide her around the turn. Going back down to the trot will help with that because you won't have to worry so much about constantly try to slow her down. And if these are small local shows, no one is really going to care if you trot her through the pattern. I much prefer to see a horse and rider doing the patterns slow and perfectly correct, than see someone blasting through the pattern in sloppy fashion because they are clearly not ready to go fast.

Going around the second barrel, her nose turns with your reins (again, too long) but her body does not follow. Practice doing one-handed perfect circles away from the pattern so she keep a perfect arc in her body, keeps her back rounded, and can make a perfect circle (at all gaits).

WAtching on the 3rd barrel (and really all the barrels), I want to be able to see a distinct cue to the horse to rate for the pocket. Usually, that's the rider dropping their weight into their seat, from the standing position they were just in for running between the barrels. That rate cue is your cue to your horse to set up and turn. So work on (at slower paces) making an obvious "sit down" cue for your horse to turn.

In the small 3rd barrel clip, you came into the pocket too close, which caused you to come out the backside too wide (to avoid hitting it). Again, at slower speeds, practice setting your horse up in the perfect pocket distance to complete the turn fully. When she's got it down perfect at slower speeds, then you can try to speed it back up to the gallop.

Keyhole ... that's okay she got a little scared! That's what seasoning is all about. I'll be going through that (again) next year with my 6-yr-old I am training, after I had to put down my good 1D/2D barrel horse this year.

When you go to make the turn in keyhole, do you see how you only used the reins? And see how only her head turned around, but not her body? This is where, again, a good rate cue can signal your horse to turn. When I do the keyhole, I keep my body position forward until the exact moment I want my horse to plant it and turn. To cue for that, I sit deep in my seat, use a verbal "hup!", cue with my outside leg, and finally (lastly) cue with the reins. Now, of course, these things all happen within a split second of each other, but they do happen in order like that.

So really work on legs, seat, and body with her and getting her used to those types of cues. You should be able to move her hindquarters, her shoulders, and her rib cage, all independently of each other, using your body and legs.

She looks like she's got a little gas pedal there .....

Poles. The first turn actually wasn't too bad! She did still get a bit front-endy, in that she swung her butt around in the turn. Really work with her on planting that butt (and you using that rate cue!) in a turn. YOu can work on this with rollbacks on a fence.

Also, I would definitely slow your poles back down to a walk/trot and work on two-tracking. This just means that you are going to move her laterally between the poles with your legs only. Use your reins only to tip her nose very slightly one way or the other. You don't want to rein a horse through a pole patter, because that causes their head to be in the wrong direction (of the arc their body should be on) which causes them to shoulder into the poles. So if you want to weave to the left, you'll keep your left leg off the horse and "push" them over with pressure from your right leg. I can explain that in further detail if you need.

That way too, you are setting your horse up for the proper leg cues to do the flying lead changes in-between the poles.

And then it looks like we move onto Dixie! A lot of the same problems still apply. First barrel was okay (although the pocket into it was exaggerated). Second barrel she did not say on her butt through the turn, and you left the second barrel wide. You always want to finish each barrel turn, and make a perfectly straight line to the next barrel. The shortest distance between 2 points is a straight line!!! 3rd barrel looks like she turned too soon, causing her to come off the barrel wide to avoid hitting it.

Now is it worth to re-train Dixie at age 25? Maybe ... maybe not. That's up to you.

Overall, you are not doing bad at all! So don't take anything I said as "cutting you down". I used to be in your place too at one point in time!! (As all of us were!) These are just a lot of the things I have learned over the years, especially learning from the mistakes I made.

Precious looks like she has great potential. Now we just need to work on a few training elements and a few re-patterning works at a slower pace, to get her to the top.

I hope for a speedy recovery for Precious! I went through the same thing with my old barrel horse, Beau. When he was 5 years old, and just starting to "click" on the patterns, he dang near cut his own foot off on the barbed wire fence. I didn't ride him for almost a year. Healed up and by some miracle, came back sound. Until I had to put him down at an early age this year. So I feel your pain!! Hope she heals for you.
redclaybear likes this.
    11-29-2012, 11:51 AM
I suppose I can post a few videos too!

This is my 6-yr-old, Red, that I am currently training for barrels and poles. This was back in Sept.

This is my mom doing the Flag Race on her horse, Crinkle. They took 1st place.

This was a couple years ago, but my good barrel horse Beau and I winning the keyhole with an 8.2 sec run

This is my mother and I doing the Sack Race. This was a 1st place run too.

And a barrel run from a few years back. We took 3rd place in the barrels that day, and co-won the Adult High Point buckle. There was a record 200+ contestants that day, so I was very proud of my Beau.

Poles were really NOT Beau's forte. Red is showing some great promise on the poles, so I"m hoping great things for him!

And just uploaded this one, because I didn't have it on there. I did the Hangman's Race with a friend and her pony! We didn't place (I blame myself ... I was too slow picking her up!), but it's always fun.

A scoop shovel race! This is usually a VERY popular event, but for some reason, there was only 2 teams entered that year at that show. So my mom and I entered at the last minute. Well the other two teams were disqualified for falling off the shovel, and for letting go of the rope. So we were SLOW, but we made a clean run and won oursevles the $50 added money!!

And you can always view all my videos at
ravbeau's channel - YouTube
    11-29-2012, 07:22 PM
Thank you so much for the compliments on her! I think she's so gorgeous(: Thank you so much for writing all of that! I will work on all of that when I retrain her. I have a "trainer" who helps me out with barrel stuff and she constantly is telling me to keep my hand at my hip! I always forget, its a bad habit :/ I really do need to shorten her reins, but that day she was in major heat and too much pressure on her mouth would make her want to rear up, so we kept them long. And believe me I try to slow her down!!! That is her slow speed, she has go and doesn't want to slow down! (: And for Dixie, I just ride her for fun, we don't compete(: but that was her first time back on the pattern in 5 years. Everything you said really helped a lot, and I also get it from my trainer! I do have a lot to work on when she gets better I'm probably going to have to re train her for barrels, which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing! And like you said we've all got to start somewhere. And as for rating for the barrel, I do give her checks to get her to slow down, and I try to sit down, am I not sitting enough?
    11-29-2012, 07:30 PM
Your videos are awesome! You guys are REALLY good!!!! Hopefully someday I'll get that good! Beau was a gorgeous horse, you were really lucky to share a good life with him! (:
    11-30-2012, 10:54 AM
Originally Posted by redclaybear    
I have a "trainer" who helps me out with barrel stuff and she constantly is telling me to keep my hand at my hip! I always forget, its a bad habit :/
My hands are a horrible habit of mine too. I'm a "pumper". I constantly have to remind myself to keep those hands quiet and still!

One method I'veread about, but never tried myself, is to buy the largest rubber bands you can find, and literally rubber band your own hands to the saddle horn. (Of course, make sure these bands are very skinny and will BREAK if you fall off.) And this will forcefully remind you to keep those hands near your saddle horn!!

Originally Posted by redclaybear    
I really do need to shorten her reins, but that day she was in major heat and too much pressure on her mouth would make her want to rear up, so we kept them long.
Your rein length has nothing to do with "pressure on her mouth".

Is that the only day she reared up, or has she done it on other occasions?

What bit are you using on her? When is the last time she saw an equine dentist?

IMO, rearing is never tolerated. Never. I don't care if she's having the worst day of her life. Never acceptable and completely dangerous. Even if she only came inches off the ground, it's pretty easy for her to figure out how to go higher.

You also mentioned in your OP that you have to have another horse lead her into the ring? This brings up a red flag of gate sour. That I would definitely address NOW, or it can escalate to rearing problems at the gate (which sounds like you already have a problem of).

This really reinforces to me that you would walk or trot her through the patterns at your next show next year. No galloping. It sounds like she is already getting to the point where she is just not listening to you because she can get away with it (example: rearing when you put pressure on the bit, not going slower when you ask, etc).

For me, personally, all of my horses will walk into that arena like a western pleasure horse if I say so. Granted, I do not often make them walk into the area, because we're there to RUN! But I know that if I wanted to have them walk calmly into the arena, they can do it.

Originally Posted by redclaybear    
And believe me I try to slow her down!!! That is her slow speed, she has go and doesn't want to slow down!
Precious sounds A LOT like my horse Red (his training is in the first video I posted). I've had Red since May and almost all I have done with him is slow, slow, slow, slow, slow and more slow. He also has GO. I never have to ask him twice to go faster. He's already on it.

This is why it is even more important to go slooooow with her at the shows at this point, or do more work at home before you go to your next one.

Even just regular trail riding, I found in the beginning that I was always holding him back, holding him back. Finally, I got tired of always having to hold him back with the reins. So let's say I wanted him to walk, and he breaks into a trot. With one direct rein at a time (so you are not putting pressure on both reins at the same time) and with one leg cue at a time, we would serpentine sharply back and forth until he broke back down to the walk. Then I'd leave him alone. Right away, he'd bust back into a trot again. So we'd serpentine again. It was probably almost a week that I didn't ask him to go any faster than a walk that we worked on this, before it started to "click" for him. Once he understood, if he ever "forgot" and sped up before I asked, he'd slow back down when I would pick up the rein to start serpentines. I used this same concept if I wanted him to make a nice slow relaxed trot, and he sped up to break neck speed trot. I don't want him to go any faster unless I say so.

I'll even show you the mistakes I've made with Red, before smartening up. Here's some barrel practice I was doing with him back in July.

His head is in the air. His back is hollowed out. He's pulling me on the bit. Swinging his butt around in the turns. Terrible. It took me video'ing myself and then posting it on the forum here for a critque before I was like duh

So I took him OFF the barrels for a good month and we just worked on basics. And look at how much he improved just from that: Mouth is quiet and relaxed. He's turning on his butt around the barrels. And he is listening to me. Big difference! Of course he still has a loooong way to go, but he's on the right track.

Originally Posted by redclaybear    
And as for rating for the barrel, I do give her checks to get her to slow down, and I try to sit down, am I not sitting enough?
Your sit down cue should "trump" your rein checks. I want my horses to run as automatically as they can, so I always really emphasize seat and legs.

Once you get into your pocket, SIT. The reins should be a secondary cue.
    11-30-2012, 10:43 PM
No,no she never rears at the gate EVER, it is not tolerated. Her rearing is never ever tolerated, trust me she does not get away with it, it was only her first race when she reared a few times and that was when we went in to the warm up arena, it was her first time riding somewhere public besides the barn we rode at. But I use a normal western snaffle, me and me trainer have tried a lot on her and this was best fit, she really behaves. She got her teeth done a few months ago. Her old owner let her teeth get really bad so every time they pulled lightly on the reins she would rear because it hurt so bad, now she anticipates the pain, but she hardly rears, we got passed that. So when I use my reins strongly she thinks its going to hurt. And we get lead into the gate because she trots in because she's nervous, but she doesnt rear, when we get lead in, she walks. An adult barrel racer whos been doing it all her life competes in the 19 and over and she leads me in, she says its fine.
    11-30-2012, 10:52 PM
Oh and believe me she doesn't get away with stuff at all. I am an advanced rider, but pretty new at gymkhana. I've been doing western pleasure, trail, and equitation my whole life and English for like two years. So I know it doesn't look like it, but I can ride and control her! I pretty much trained her myself and won a whole bunch of stuff doing western on my gelding, but im just very new at barrels :/

barrel racing, green horse, gymkhana, keyhole, pole bending

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