How to teach a horse to do barrels? - The Horse Forum
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post #1 of 21 Old 05-03-2009, 10:55 PM Thread Starter
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How to teach a horse to do barrels?

So i'm getting a summer project and I hope to qualify for a rodeo at the end of this summer. The horse I'm getting is real athletic with lots of spunk so he's be good at barrels. However, he has never done them. What can I do to prepare him before I introduce barrels and patterns?

I'm assuming leads (how do I teach that?)? And of course flexing, which is in my training program already. Also softness of the mouth?

How would I introduce them? At a walk, trot, canter, then run him? I think for my training I'll canter in wide circles before the barrel to assure leads, and only flat out run the pattern once in a while. I've heard of ppl doing that and it sounds reasonable.

I've seen riders "lean" in towards the barrel, but wouldn't that throw the horse off-balance? Ha sorry for all the Qs, I've barreled before but I want to learn the right way to do it and of course the fastest... and safest.
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post #2 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 07:48 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by girl_on_black_pony View Post
So i'm getting a summer project and I hope to qualify for a rodeo at the end of this summer. The horse I'm getting is real athletic with lots of spunk so he's be good at barrels. However, he has never done them. What can I do to prepare him before I introduce barrels and patterns?

I'm assuming leads (how do I teach that?)? And of course flexing, which is in my training program already. Also softness of the mouth?

How would I introduce them? At a walk, trot, canter, then run him? I think for my training I'll canter in wide circles before the barrel to assure leads, and only flat out run the pattern once in a while. I've heard of ppl doing that and it sounds reasonable.

I've seen riders "lean" in towards the barrel, but wouldn't that throw the horse off-balance? Ha sorry for all the Qs, I've barreled before but I want to learn the right way to do it and of course the fastest... and safest.
Getting a greenie running the pattern soundly, both mentally and physically, by the end of the summer is a pretty unrealistic goal. Especially a horse that lacks the basics.

A "spunky" horse doesnt mean "barrel horse". It means fragile mind and take it slow.

Before teaching leads, I would start on shoulder control. Get the horse used to picking his shoulder up...so that when you do start loping circles, he doesnt get into the habit of being heavy on the forehand and dropping his shoulder.

Cue your horse for the lead departure (after you establish a really good sense of shoulder control) If the horse doesnt pick up the correct lead immediately, stop, back, and start over. Be patient. When the horse picks up the correct lead, let them lope around a bit and relax.
(Do not let the horse's shoulder drop in front of his hip. Move the shoulder over with your inside leg, add outside leg further back to move the hip in, then ask for the departure)

To soften the horse's mouth? Your gunna need soft hands your self. Start from the ground and work your way up.

From the sounds of it, your pretty green yourself. I suggest finding a trainer to take weekly lessons with you.

I'm not even going to approach how to introduce a horse to the pattern...since the horse is obviously not ready and won't be ready to see a pattern for some time.
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post #3 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 01:08 PM
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I tend to agree with buckoff. I have a new 9 year old mare who is built, bread and is ready to be patterned to run barrels; however, I am in no way expecting to be competing on her this summer. We will go to some jackpots and time only at a trot and canter this summer but becasue of the mental and physical demands that this sport poses on a horse I feel that it would be irresponsible of me to push too hard too fast. Do I think she could compete and run by the end of the summer....sure, but it would not be fair for me to do that to her. In the end I could potentially ruin a wonderful barrel horse. My suggestion is the same as above, take it slow and make it fun : )

Katie
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post #4 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 02:12 PM
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Get Charmane James book, she is the most winning women in barrel racing! I saw her clinic at Midwest Horse Fair and I learned so much just from watching for an hour clinic!
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post #5 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 02:13 PM
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There are a few threads about this if you search for them.
Buckoff gave you a great start though.
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post #6 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckOff41570 View Post
A "spunky" horse doesnt mean "barrel horse". It means fragile mind and take it slow.
I can't agree with that blanket statement. A spunky horse means fragile mind?
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post #7 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 03:37 PM
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I don't think all spunky horses have fragile minds.
I do think that a horse that is "spunky", a lot of times, needs to learn to pay attention to the rider instead of whatever he is so hyped up about.


However, this is just my view towards "He's hot so he must be a good barrel horse/all barrel horses are hot" etc.
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post #8 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 05:59 PM
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She's not green... I've seen her at pleasure competitions with Potential Zip... far from green. Green at barrels, perhaps.

Definately start from the ground up. By then you should have a general feel of how you're going to have to work with your horse on barrels. IF she is ready for barrels, teach her the pattern. Run it once on video, ONCE, then post it. Then, we will be able to evaluate where you should go from there.

amy

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post #9 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 07:03 PM
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Quote:
since the horse is obviously not ready and won't be ready to see a pattern for some time.
I'm sorry, but I didn't find this comment very friendly... :s

Girl, each horse is very different, as you probably know :] For me, basics I want my horse to have before running a pattern... I want them to have a good solid stop. Be able to adjust their stride (lengthen/shorten). Be able to seperately control both shoulders and hind end. be able to strike off on the correct leads, and do a nice, clean simple change. And be able to do all this cool, calm and relaxed.

I'm in AUS, so we don't have as big a barrel culture here... My sporting (Gameing) pony I started on barrels and other events about 6 years ago now, lol. Back then i just did it. None of the taking it slow, 'patterning' stuff. I just did what worked for me, which was doing slow runs and maybe one fast run every few weeks. If we did something wrong, we would work on it. But I learnt and he learnt by just doing it. And starting the pattern early didn't adversley effect him at all. He isn't hot, he walks in on a loose rein, and walks out on a loose rein, he can pack kids around the pattern at a walk/trot/canter without getting hot, yet he has won our zone champion award 5 years in a row.

Sure, the way that the others are describing works, and is proven. But other ways work as well :]

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post #10 of 21 Old 05-04-2009, 09:07 PM
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Dont even attempt to put that horse on barrels until you have a solid foundation on him. Picking up leads, being able to lope nice cricles with him giving his face softly, knowing leg aids, there is alot more to just the pattern. If you have never done barrels before i would suggest a mentor, trainer whatever you want to say. Thats what i did and its the best decision i made =)

quarter horses.....simply the best
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