How do you train a barrel racer? (For a book I'm writing) - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 6 Old 09-22-2008, 04:19 PM Thread Starter
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How do you train a barrel racer? (For a book I'm writing)

Hi, I wanted to get info on how to train a barrel racer for a book I'm writing . . . I also thought I'd like to do that sometime! I was thinking that you'd start by riding around the barrels at a walk, then jog, then lope, increasing speed as the horse becomes used to the moves. Am I correct? Is there anyhting else I should throw in there?
I just didn't want to buy a book about it when I could ask on here!

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post #2 of 6 Old 09-23-2008, 10:45 AM
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Well there is more to it then that, but it is a start. You need to learn the angles to enter and leave the barrels, where your body should be placed at certain times. Also you need to condition your horse outside of running the patterns. the horse needs to be very flexible, and quick to turn. You don't want to overwork patterns otherwises it wont be fun for the horse anymore. Before you write a book about it I would either take lessons, view a clinic, read other books, or even just talk to a racer yourself. i used to do some racing but nothing too serious. There is way more to it then I have described but just a few more things to think about....Good Luck!!!

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post #3 of 6 Old 09-25-2008, 07:45 PM Thread Starter
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I was thinking about it, and talking to my best friend over the phone, and she said hill work for conditioning his hindquarters. I was planning on not getting into tons of detail about it - like the character trains him with help from a book - and really I'm not in the position to take lessons, view a clinic, or talk to a racer, since I don't know anyone!! I don't have the cash to buy a book, which was why I was hoping to get step-by-step instructions.

I'm not currently working on that part of the book - it's a series, and I've got ten books planned, and working on the third. I'm kind of redoing the first book, though.

Thanks for the tips, though!

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post #4 of 6 Old 09-29-2008, 10:56 PM
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it all really depends on the horse you are training...
its more complicated than it looks actually i dont even do it right but then again i do it to sharpen my horses skills not for competition need to teach your horse to move off your leg, i think that is what its called, when you touch one foot to his side he should move to one side, like if you touch JUST your left foot your horse should turn to the right, in a clock wise circle, and then right to the left, this is so instead of having all the control on the head you have some control of their feet, say if they get too close to the barrel you can tap them with the inside foot to have them take a step out to avoid hitting the barrel, lol
also what helps is to have your horse flex, to work on this you just have your horse stand still and pull his nose to touch your knee but not to much to where he is in pain as far as he can go and this helps them to bend around the barrel for a faster barrel and a safer leave for the next.
circles, just random circles at various speeds to help the horses understand what they have to do in a turn that sharp to execute it safely and effectivly. figure 8's are a god send lol those help alot so the horses are working on both the right turn and left turn at the same time
i know im forgeting so much more there is alot to it, but like i said it all depends on the horse you are training. You can go to a rodeo and try to catch one of the racers there or see if you can track down a trainer and ask your questions
good luck!!!

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post #5 of 6 Old 09-30-2008, 05:26 PM
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I think it's cool you're writing a book about fun-filled horse things like barrel racing. And I agree with what everyone said, it's a really long, hard process if you want to do it right. But if you're just doing a fictitious book on it, the basics other posters have said should be fine. I barrel race so if you want a more detailed response, feel free to PM me.

Good luck!

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post #6 of 6 Old 11-15-2008, 01:46 PM
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Barrel racing is ALL about control. Bottom line...sure, any horse can go in there and run the pattern. That doesnt mean they're going to execute a proper turn or that they are going through willingly and attentively.

Like most other diciplines, a barrel horse requires lots and lots of control. Lateral movements,collection, and softness. The twist? They have to be able to maintain everything in a gallop. A barrel horse has to be smart enough to learn and progress, but dumb enough not to out smart the rider.

Like you said origionally you start slow on the pattern. (after already having all the basics down) Starting at a walk. There are a hundred different ways to put a horse on a pattern. It all depends on the horse itself. Some horses need a simpler start and some can handle a more technical ride. (meaning adding right off the bat some lateral movements)

Once a horse is able to maneuver calmly and correctly around the pattern at a walk, you move up to the on and so forth.

Ironically the KEY to a good reliable barrel horse is lots and lots and tons and tons of SLOW work. Limit pattern work to only a couple times a week. Less if the horse gets frazzled easily. Focus on suppling the horse OFF the pattern. Its harder to keep a barrel horse fresh and calm than to teach them the pattern in the first place.

Remember that anyone can hop on a horse a yeehaw through a pattern...but it takes a true horseman to be called a barrel racer.
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