barrel racing help - Page 4 - The Horse Forum
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post #31 of 37 Old 05-22-2009, 12:18 PM
Join Date: Nov 2008
Location: OK, USA
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Hope this helps, it helped me last year when my horse would always freak on the first barrel:

You can regain control using the simple exercise I'll give you here. With repetition, it'll put you back in the driver's seat, and will help you gauge your horse's speed, so you can position him for a clean, razor-sharp turn.
  1. Take your horse to the arena location where you'd normally ask him to initiate a barrel run. Place one hand on the saddle horn and the other on the reins-just as you would on a run. Maintaining light rein pressure while sitting squarely, not forward in your saddle, ask him to lope halfway to the first barrel. This will enable you to balance yourself, and will help your horse set himself for the turn by tucking his hind legs under his body. (If he becomes chargy or anxious, stop him, then trot him to the midpoint.)
  2. At the halfway point, bring your horse down to an extended trot. Begin lifting his shoulder and positioning his front end for the turn by sliding your hand down the inside rein and slightly picking up on it, so your thumb is facing upward. Use neck-rein cues to guide him to a spot 6 to 7 feet to the side of the barrel, an area known as "the pocket."
  3. When your horse's nose is even with the barrel, ask him to stop. Immediately back up 1 or 2 steps, then settle for about 10 seconds. You want your horse to learn to rate himself going into the pocket, and by asking him to stop and settle there you're telling him to do so. The stop also rocks his weight onto his hindquarters; the back-up causes him to drive his inside hind pivot foot under his body, properly positioning him for a strong push off when exiting the turn; the settle will take the "rush" out of his maneuver. If your horse won't stand completely still, do the best you can, gradually asking him to settle longer with each repetition.
  4. Ask your horse to walk around the barrel. As you make the turn, look at the barrel and evaluate your and your horse's position. If your horse drops his shoulder (his front end will become heavy and it'll feel like he's leaning against your inside rein and leg), pick up on your inside rein to lift his shoulder. Apply inside or outside rein pressure as needed to adjust his position. Circle the barrel at least twice to keep him from prematurely exiting the turn, which often leads to a too-wide exit.
  5. With practice at slower gaits, your and your horse's form will become automatic when you increase your speed. Here's the final result : My horse's shoulder is upright and balanced, his front legs are reaching and pulling the ground toward him, and his inside pivot foot is planted under his body. We can take this turn to the bank.

I got summer hating on me cause I'm hotter than the sun. Win-ter hating on me cause I'm colder than ya'll. I'm being hated by the seasons so forget ya'll who hating for no reason!
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post #32 of 37 Old 05-22-2009, 06:01 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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Ok I got her moving off my leg! She's really grumpy though, like if she doesn't do it right away she starts flicking her tail and stomping her back foot. I think as she gets it more she'll probably stop doing it. I just walked her around the barrels today. She deffinitly knows the pattern lol, just have to get that roundness on the turns.
Any ways to help me round her out? also how can I make her happier to do these things?

After a bit of working with her she gets almost ansy and can't stand still, thats why I took a break and walked her around the barrels.
I also braided her tail today and she tried to climb into the tack shed, I'm glad she knows how to back out or i'd be screwed haha, what a little brat!
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post #33 of 37 Old 05-22-2009, 06:07 PM
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: Missoula, MT
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Can you make her round when you are not on the barrels?

As far as making her happier, a horse either like barrels or not. I'm not exactly sure what you mean as far as her getting antsy, but she could be learning to anticipate running and getting a bit sour on it. It doesn't sound like you are on the barrels all the time, but make sure to keep her mind fresh. Set up the barrels randomly around the arena and ask her to turn them. Only run the third barrel or the first barrel. Change things and make sure she is listening to you.

You want to make sure that by "knowing" the pattern, she isn't running it for you. It's very easy for the horse to just ignore you and do it on his own. It results in sloppy runs.

Now that she will move off your leg, you should have a much better time. Make sure she can do it in both directions. Ask her to make progressively larger than smaller circles using your leg to push her in and out.
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post #34 of 37 Old 05-22-2009, 06:18 PM Thread Starter
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She was getting sour on my asking her to move off my leg, sorry for the mix up, it wasn't when I was going throught the barrels with her that she was being a grump. Omg though I totally haven't done side passes at the walk or anything so I know what my next step is.. to make her move in and out of a circle and to keep round on the circle. I shall try it tomorrow then I think I'm gunna go to a short trail ride.
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post #35 of 37 Old 05-23-2009, 11:05 AM
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Alright. I see what you are saying.
She could just be learning. Make sure though that the moment she does something right, you release and praise. If she steps over and you just keep bumping asking for more while she is still learning, she's going to get frustrated.

Good luck.
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post #36 of 37 Old 05-24-2009, 12:58 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2009
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So today she acted like she didn't know how to give to the bit.. from now on she doesn't get a day off during the week! lol. I really need to get my ass in gear with her cause now she's going backwards. She does still get how to move off my leg though which is great! If only she would've been giving to the bit we could've been doing nice circles and everything.. ugh well I talked to my coach today when I ran into her in town and she said that we'll work her in the mornings from now on so that I get to ride her! yay!
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post #37 of 37 Old 05-29-2009, 11:13 AM
Join Date: May 2009
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Go Buy Charmayne James Book, she is a 11 time world time barrel racing champion!!! I learned so much from her book and watching a few of her clinics!!!

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