Barrel Racers

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Barrel Racers

This is a discussion on Barrel Racers within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    09-28-2009, 06:50 PM
Barrel Racers

All of you share your tips for teaching, faster runs or whatever about it for everyone to use and ask questions.
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    09-28-2009, 06:54 PM
Lots and lots of conditioning and long trotting, making sure they stay interested by doing things other than barrels and doing dressage are what make awesome barrel horses, imo
    09-30-2009, 01:30 AM
I'm not a barrel racer but I have trained a few and they need to be really, really broke. That will make the difference between a average horse and an excellent money winning horse.
    10-01-2009, 03:23 AM
Exercises such as: Spirals, Figure 8's, Roll backs, and serpentines

Slow pattern work

When riding: Always look up, never at the barrel, when your rating your horse around each barrel you need to focus on your horses ears.....then look up at the next barrel to direct your horse. You always need to be in the "GO" position, then before you turn each barrel roll back onto your back pockets.

Then PUSH PUSH PUSH your horse, don't be afraid to let your horse go!
    10-01-2009, 08:28 AM
I like a horse to be soft in the body. Counter arcs and pivots are a must. Period.
I'm not a fan of spirals so much. It's too easy to teach a horse to drop their shoulder in a spiral.
I like doing squares... Small, COLLECTED, circle...then counter arc away.
Maintaining the same frame in a straight line, as I would in a circle.

I like my horses to go (and stop) like reiners. NO HEAT! I don't want a hot, jiggy horse. My horses WALK into the alley with their heads down and walk out the same way.
    10-04-2009, 12:18 PM
Originally Posted by BuckOff41570    
I like my horses to go (and stop) like reiners. NO HEAT! I don't want a hot, jiggy horse. My horses WALK into the alley with their heads down and walk out the same way.
I agree, there is nothing that makes me more nervous than seeing a horse that is bug-eyed and dancing around at the alley gate.
    11-26-2009, 07:22 PM
Ride more with your legs than with your hands. Make sure you keep your horses shoulder up around the barrels and never lean to the inside of the turn. Always stay square with your horse or slightly to the outside.
    11-27-2009, 12:04 PM
Don't work your horse everday on barrels, or he/she will get very bored with it. And change the way you do the pattern. You could do it the opposite way, and just play around with it. It also helps the horse.
    11-27-2009, 08:42 PM
Green Broke
My best tip is to not even look at a pattern or take your horse near a barrel until he is flawless at his stopping manners, leg aids, rider aids, weight shifting and getting his rear under him.

When you can get him to stop, go, turn, and back without having to use your legs or hands, only your seat, you are ready for success as a barrel racer.

Then verrrry rarely run a cloverleaf, place the barrels in any pattern you would like anywhere in the arena to teach him to listen to you and not just run the pattern.

IMO rating is the single most important concept when training a barrel racer (the better the rate you have the better your pocket will be, the less likely you will be to knock over a barrel and you will have a better setup for the next barrel). The second is teaching the horse to remain calm and focused throughout the entire pattern.

When you start working working with the barrels begin at the walk( tsart from anywhere in the arena but the starting gate, this helps prevent starting gate nervesand anxiety when it is time for him to compete) and when you get about 17 feet or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should stop, this is the beginning of teaching him to rate properly.

When he learns to focus on you and stop when you stop riding at the walk move up to the trot, same thing, 17 or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should slow down and stop. You can so this with only one barrel in the arena or 10 barrels it doesn't matter, though I would advise not teaching the clover leaf until he has each individual step to the run down pat, then I would only run it a time or two each training session to keep him from anticipating it and becoming bored.

Another tip is to use the same technique for the end of the run as you did when teaching him to rate, when you get about 20 or so feet from the gate (at the walk mind you) stop riding and he should stop. Teach this at all speeds so he doesnt learn to keep running until a physical barrier stops him, it will keep you from having to haul on the reins to get him to stop.

Also teach him that the alley is his safe place. Groom him there, just let him relax anytime you have him there during training whether just being led or under saddle. Teach yourself to relax when you are entering and leaving the alley and this in effect will allow your horse to remain relaxed.

So many girls I know teach their horses that when they get inthat alley they are going to have to run. The horses become overly excited and turn into a big panicky mess eventually and become dangerous to themselves and anyone around them. This is where you can really outshine the competition, a freaked out horse has a much more difficult time listeneing to the rider than one that has been taught to remain calm in the alley.

And remember to listen to your horse, he will let you know what areas need more work and what he is unsure about.

Oh yeah and one last thing, NEVER sacrifice precision for speed or you will end up with a fast sloppy mess. Speed is the last thing you want when training a barrel racer, training should be slow and controlled, with speed added only after each and every concept has been mastered.
    11-28-2009, 12:00 AM
Green Broke
Stay out of your horse's mouth.

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