Starting Barrels

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Starting Barrels

This is a discussion on Starting Barrels within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • How do you stop a horse from pivoting around the barrels
  • My horse is stopping around that barrel and pivoting

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    10-05-2009, 03:39 PM
Question Starting Barrels

Im getting ready to start my horse on the pattern. I have walked/trotted him around one barrel before but not the 3 yet. My question is, how can I make his turns tighter? Sometimes he doesnt want to listen to the bit and just keep going. He has had a lot of time on him with everything and is quite broke by now. Anyone have suggestions? Also, any other info on starting will be much appreciated :)
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    10-05-2009, 08:45 PM
Use your legs to steer him around the barrel, You want your outside leg to be pushing him into the barrel. In the beginning its best to pull rein around the barrels.
    10-06-2009, 06:38 AM
Ok, well everyone is going to tell you something different...because everyone teaches their horse different. This is the way I've learned and it's worked on every horse I've stepped onto.

If your horse doesnt like to "listen" to the bit, He's not ready for the full pattern. A broke horse is a horse who is going to willingly do as you ask. Putting a horse that doesnt do that on a always going to end badly. Even more so once speed is added.

Next... Don't rely on his face. Sounds like your riding his front end when there is so much more to a horse than just that. Get BODY control. Control the horse's body is what is going to get you around those barrels, and tight.

As I've stated in every barrel post before...Counter arcs and pivots are your best friend. Use them. Use every bit of that horse's body. If your horse comes out to far somewhere, all you have to do is either lay your leg against them or shift your body weight.

Simpley yanking harder or jabbing with your outside leg isnt going to work. Especially if your horse doesnt give to leg and seat pressure.
    10-07-2009, 05:34 PM
Can you explain Counter Arcs and Pivots better? How do I do them? I use my leg. I forgot to add that. I have used it since the beginning with him. He gives to leg pressure well now. Maybe I should use more leg instead of hands around the barrel.
    10-08-2009, 08:35 PM
Do you have any experience barrel racing? If you have experience it helps alot.

You need to train slow pattern work, as well as rating. Before even attempting to walk/trot/canter the cloverleaf, you need to work on spirals, figure 8's, serpentines, and rollbacks. Once your horse can really arch when he turns, then move on to walking the pattern.

Don't push your horse, because if you push your horse to just running the pattern he will eventually become sour and you will have problems in the longrun.
    10-08-2009, 09:12 PM
Agreed with above. Soften his mouth and get full body control.
    10-09-2009, 06:14 PM
I hope more people reply to this, I want to train my horse to do barrels too. He is capable. He is only 2 1/2 but he neck reins and responds to leg pressure. I haven't done a barrel pattern, I just make him walk and trot through a row of poles for now. I haven't cantered through them yet.

I want him to be my 'everything' horse. Not just barrels, but trail rides, pole bending, fun stuff =]
    10-10-2009, 06:55 AM
Originally Posted by Chess46    
Can you explain Counter Arcs and Pivots better? How do I do them? I use my leg. I forgot to add that. I have used it since the beginning with him. He gives to leg pressure well now. Maybe I should use more leg instead of hands around the barrel.
hmmm... counter arcs are... well, when you pick up your horse's shoulder, they get a break in the their body. A counter arc is when a horse maintains that bend but in the opposite direction of the bend.
A pivot is just when a horse plants their pivor foot and moves around it...which will be the inside hind leg for a hindquarters pivot and the inside front leg for a pivot on the forehand.
    10-12-2009, 03:05 PM
Yes. I have experience barrel racing. Just not training. I have never trained a horse to barrel race before. He already knows how to Pivot. I was thinking it was called something else. I will start working on the things you guys are talking about. Thanks so much :)
    10-14-2009, 11:23 AM
I would suggest taking it SLOW. My trainer is working with myself and my 4 year old gelding to start the barrels, and her rule of thumb is 1 month walking, 1 month trotting, and 1 month of loping the barrels. As was suggested above, work on getting body control and not just yanking on his mouth, it has to be fun for him too. Stop him at each barrel and push his hip towards it, which will teach him to slow down before taking his turn and keep him tight to the barrel. It was working wonderfully for Kirin and myself (but then I got pregnant, lol)

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