I have actually two areas that I'm looking for tips in, but for the same horse, so I figured it would be easier to make just one topic.
(Sorry if this gets kinda long and wordy... ^_^;; )
The horse I'm riding is Magic, my 10-year-old QH mare. Her previous owners used her for primarily barrel racing, with some pole bending and cattle work. However, she's had five years of being a pasture pony before I got her. I've got her back into riding, and other than a bit of (easily contained) herd-bound-ness, she does what I ask. So that's just a bit of background on her training.
For the barrel racing question: The only time I've run barrels before is one time on my friend's mare, that runs the course on her own -- point her at them and she runs with little to no interference from the rider. So I can't say I know much about it. A few days ago, that same friend and I took Magic up to the fairground arena for a practice run, and I think I learned a bit, but I'm still not sure how to run the barrels well. Magic seems to know well enough what she's doing, but if I just start her running and let her do her own thing, she tends to sort of... wander off after the second barrel. However, if I'm reining her, she keeps breaking to a trot at the barrels.
Are there any tips any of you more experienced racers could give me? I'm sorry if that seems like a pretty broad request, but I'm really not sure where to start.
Oh, and if anyone knows of a good instructional video or something online?
For Western Show (this one's easier, I promise. ) : It's been a few years since I've shown in any riding classes (I've mostly done a halter class here and there the last few years), and this year I'm planning to get back into it. There's a local show next week that I'm planning to enter, and the three classes (besides my halter shows) that I'm looking at are Horsemanship, Walk Trot Western Equitation, and Western Pleasure. I've been going out to the fairground arenas daily for practice, and Magic is doing the basic gaits (Walk, Trot, Canter, and Lope), working on her leads, and backs up without a problem. Is there anything else that might be required in these classes? I already tried e-mailing the person running the show, but I haven't gotten a response yet.
I'm told by a friend who's been in this club longer than me (and rides English, so she's not any help with the Western classes) that there's usually only four other people in the Western classes, and the judges are all Quarter Horse judges, so I have an upper hand there; plus, Magic is white (well, technically grey), so she sticks out from all the chestnuts and bays and sorrels around these parts. She naturally carries her head like a pleasure horse, and neck reins like a dream, so I have no worries about having a problem with her.
Um... yeah, that's all. If I left something out, or didn't describe something well enough, just let me know.
Oh, and any tips on getting a white horse *really* clean?