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This is a discussion on barrels? within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category

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    01-16-2009, 11:55 AM
Arrow barrels?

I really want my tn walker mare to run barrels and I know that tn walkers arent the best breeds but I would like to know how to test them arund the barrels?what to look for when she's going around.she can turn on a dime and hs exellent manners but she wont stop when I tell her to.she shakes her head side to side and keeps currenlty using a tom thumb bit on her because the snaffles have no effect on her whatesoever.shes not hard headed she just wants to go.i lounge her very time bfore I ride her and strech her out but with it being constantly raining here im not really going to let her run out her energy right now due to the slippery mud where I ride.she is 3 years ld and I think that she would be a good barrel racer she's got a stocky type build and has ben doing everything well.trail riding,english riding,wetern pleasure,gaited stuff...blah blah going to get pics of her today to post online.please critique her!!!thnx
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    01-16-2009, 01:01 PM
Have you tried a stop and turn on her? If not, check them out. I used one on my old barrel horse that I couldn't get to stop.
    01-16-2009, 04:48 PM
I wouldn't start seriously running barrels until she was at least five. It's too stressful on them and leads to breakdowns. I start all horses out on barrels at a walk. But before you should even break out the barrels she should respond to leg pressure, move back, sideways, and forward, STOP, and lengthen and shorten her stride for you.

I don't like tom thumbs. I think at this age they should all be broke in a snaffle. I use a greg darnell or a gag bit on my barrel horse but he is finished and I can run in a snaffle if I want to and he will stop.

Don't up the harshness of the bit when your horse won't pay attention, it just leads to more problems.

When she starts to want to run away from you, do circles. Start off big and make them smaller as you go. Just give her something to put her mind on. I know barrels are supposed to be running really fast and exciting, but if you want your horse to last you need your basics to be very very sound.
    01-16-2009, 07:25 PM
Green Broke
I know someone who competed on barrels w/ a TWH. She beat out all those high dollar QHs too.

The problems you describe when you try to make her stop makes it sound like she isn't liking the nutcracker effect. That's typical with tom thumbs.

Today's Horse - The Trouble with Tom Thumb

I'd recommend switching to a straight bar or Billy Allen mouth piece type bit
    01-16-2009, 07:29 PM
I do barrles with my QH and she's the fastest horse I've had OR riden. <I rode my friends 3 year old TH in a full on gallop
    01-16-2009, 07:31 PM
Try pulling the head to there side that should work. It works on my QH.
    01-18-2009, 07:09 PM
I have another horse that I planned on barrel racing a tn walker/quarter horse cross but she was constanlty stumbling and trippin.she wasnt very cordinated or balanced at all.can you guys help me if it can be helped?if I ride her without doing the barrels she turns just fine and on a dime.
    01-18-2009, 08:12 PM
I am not a huge fan of tom thumbs....they seem to pinch my horses mouth. Have you tried using an argantine bit, maybe one with a twisted wire? My mare loves her twisted wire snaffle. The argantines have a snaffle mouthpeice but have nice slpoing shanks that move indipendantly
Here is a link to can get them with different mouthpeices
Argentine Smooth Snaffle Bit: Saddles Tack Horse Supplies -

Or maybe a jr. Cow horse bit....i have had lots of success with them as well. Here is a link to one. You can get them with different mouthpeices as well
Cow Horse Gag Snaffle with Twisted Wire: Saddles Tack Horse Supplies -

I hope this helps

And if you are interested in trying a snaffle again (recommended), here is two that I love!!!!!!
Bob Avila, Avila Training Stables - Avila Training Snaffle

Bob Avila O Ring Snaffle Bits (this ist the bit, the bit I use looks just like this only it has a nice curved twisted wire mouthpeice)

Like everyone is saying, start your horse very slow and gradually over time, get faster. You should get her/him correct in all aspects of barrel racing at a walk before you do anything else. I started my mare on barrels (re started) and we are on our 3rd year of training, I still am not letting her run full out until we head for "home"....she just isnt mentally ready yet to take that last step (she over excites herself)
    01-18-2009, 10:09 PM
And I have finally got the pics of her so im going to post them in critique my horse section!i hope you guys like her!
    01-18-2009, 10:56 PM
How long have you been training her and riding her? She will probably be more sure footed and aware of herself as time goes on. Age?

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