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Discussion Starter #1
I have a 1 year old filly that I want to be a good barrel racer (she has the perfect form for it) is there any thing I can start now to prepare her for it?
 

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Right now barrels arent going to matter, you just want to get her exposed to things and respectful on the ground. You can take them to shows/rodeos/etc to let them see everything that goes on as well as working on moving her body on the ground so you can easily translate it in the saddle.
 

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I agree with Spastic. Other than getting her exposed to everything, and ensuring she is becoming a calm respectful partner, you can't really do anything to really prepare her for barrels at this stage.
 

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The only thing that you could do to get her used to the barrels right now is to hand walk her around the barrels. I am fixing to start this with Caddo about once a week.
 

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agreed with spastic, good god I agree with you on alot of things lol.

You really need to work her on despooking methods, lots of lunging, getting her use to the feel of your saddle pad on her back etc.

My 5 month old colt, our future roper and barrel horse, already lunges without hesitation, loads into a 2 horse or stock horse easily, stands for baths, lets me rub anywhere I touch without hesitation or flinching, already has had a saddle pad on his back. Little things like this will gentle your horse, my guy is already gentled and I can't wait til he is older to get on him.
 

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I wouldn't even think about introducing her to a barrel until well into her under saddle training.

Right now as spastic said, don't worry about barrels . Work on making her a respectful and responsive partner. Work on teaching her to lunge and flex her ribcage. Basic ground manners are the foundation to all good training after all.

What age do you plan on beginning her under saddle?

For a good barrel horse I would wait till she is 4 to give her ample time to grow and her bones and tendons to form properly, and I would wait till around age 6 to begin barrel training and 7 to begin competing, by then you should have all the necessary training to do well.

You might want to look under the western training thread in the Barrel Racers thread for some tips for when she gets older.

It might be too early for her to learn barrels, but it is never too early for you to learn all you can. Educate yourself. Buy books, dvds, and look online for anything and everything barrel racing related. The more educated you are the more likely you will be repsonsible with her training and the better your finished barrel horse will be.
 

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Start saving your money and send her to a reining horse trainer when you get ready to start riding her. After you get her back after 6-8 months if you still want to chase barrels then don't ride her in an arena except MAYBE 2 days a week and ride anywhere but an arena the rest of the days. I disagree with the lunging when they're young. Lunging doesn't teach a whole lot in my opinion and puts undue stress on a young horses legs and joints. If you have a horse that is broke broke broke you will run more consistently and do better than a horse that is faster but poorly trained or ridden. Be warned, once you ride a good reining horse you will likely loose interest in barrel chasing.
 

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This is my post from another thread on barrel racing, hope it helps you in the future...

My best tip is to not even look at a pattern or take your horse near a barrel until he is flawless at his stopping manners, leg aids, rider aids, weight shifting and getting his rear under him.

When you can get him to stop, go, turn, and back without having to use your legs or hands, only your seat, you are ready for success as a barrel racer.

Then verrrry rarely run a cloverleaf, place the barrels in any pattern you would like anywhere in the arena to teach him to listen to you and not just run the pattern.

IMO rating is the single most important concept when training a barrel racer (the better the rate you have the better your pocket will be, the less likely you will be to knock over a barrel and you will have a better setup for the next barrel). The second is teaching the horse to remain calm and focused throughout the entire pattern.

When you start working working with the barrels begin at the walk( tsart from anywhere in the arena but the starting gate, this helps prevent starting gate nervesand anxiety when it is time for him to compete) and when you get about 17 feet or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should stop, this is the beginning of teaching him to rate properly.

When he learns to focus on you and stop when you stop riding at the walk move up to the trot, same thing, 17 or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should slow down and stop. You can so this with only one barrel in the arena or 10 barrels it doesn't matter, though I would advise not teaching the clover leaf until he has each individual step to the run down pat, then I would only run it a time or two each training session to keep him from anticipating it and becoming bored.

Another tip is to use the same technique for the end of the run as you did when teaching him to rate, when you get about 20 or so feet from the gate (at the walk mind you) stop riding and he should stop. Teach this at all speeds so he doesnt learn to keep running until a physical barrier stops him, it will keep you from having to haul on the reins to get him to stop.

Also teach him that the alley is his safe place. Groom him there, just let him relax anytime you have him there during training whether just being led or under saddle. Teach yourself to relax when you are entering and leaving the alley and this in effect will allow your horse to remain relaxed.

So many girls I know teach their horses that when they get inthat alley they are going to have to run. The horses become overly excited and turn into a big panicky mess eventually and become dangerous to themselves and anyone around them. This is where you can really outshine the competition, a freaked out horse has a much more difficult time listeneing to the rider than one that has been taught to remain calm in the alley.

And remember to listen to your horse, he will let you know what areas need more work and what he is unsure about.

Oh yeah and one last thing, NEVER sacrifice precision for speed or you will end up with a fast sloppy mess. Speed is the last thing you want when training a barrel racer, training should be slow and controlled, with speed added only after each and every concept has been mastered. __________________
 

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This is my post from another thread on barrel racing, hope it helps you in the future...

My best tip is to not even look at a pattern or take your horse near a barrel until he is flawless at his stopping manners, leg aids, rider aids, weight shifting and getting his rear under him.

When you can get him to stop, go, turn, and back without having to use your legs or hands, only your seat, you are ready for success as a barrel racer.

Then verrrry rarely run a cloverleaf, place the barrels in any pattern you would like anywhere in the arena to teach him to listen to you and not just run the pattern.

IMO rating is the single most important concept when training a barrel racer (the better the rate you have the better your pocket will be, the less likely you will be to knock over a barrel and you will have a better setup for the next barrel). The second is teaching the horse to remain calm and focused throughout the entire pattern.

When you start working working with the barrels begin at the walk( tsart from anywhere in the arena but the starting gate, this helps prevent starting gate nervesand anxiety when it is time for him to compete) and when you get about 17 feet or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should stop, this is the beginning of teaching him to rate properly.

When he learns to focus on you and stop when you stop riding at the walk move up to the trot, same thing, 17 or so feet from the barrel stop riding and he should slow down and stop. You can so this with only one barrel in the arena or 10 barrels it doesn't matter, though I would advise not teaching the clover leaf until he has each individual step to the run down pat, then I would only run it a time or two each training session to keep him from anticipating it and becoming bored.

Another tip is to use the same technique for the end of the run as you did when teaching him to rate, when you get about 20 or so feet from the gate (at the walk mind you) stop riding and he should stop. Teach this at all speeds so he doesnt learn to keep running until a physical barrier stops him, it will keep you from having to haul on the reins to get him to stop.

Also teach him that the alley is his safe place. Groom him there, just let him relax anytime you have him there during training whether just being led or under saddle. Teach yourself to relax when you are entering and leaving the alley and this in effect will allow your horse to remain relaxed.

So many girls I know teach their horses that when they get inthat alley they are going to have to run. The horses become overly excited and turn into a big panicky mess eventually and become dangerous to themselves and anyone around them. This is where you can really outshine the competition, a freaked out horse has a much more difficult time listeneing to the rider than one that has been taught to remain calm in the alley.

And remember to listen to your horse, he will let you know what areas need more work and what he is unsure about.

Oh yeah and one last thing, NEVER sacrifice precision for speed or you will end up with a fast sloppy mess. Speed is the last thing you want when training a barrel racer, training should be slow and controlled, with speed added only after each and every concept has been mastered. __________________
A copy of this should be sown to every barrel saddle made. I wouldn't have to go get a hamburger during the barrel racing if every barrel racer used this advice. I would also like to add you should figure out how fast your horse can run and quit beating it when you get there. Spurs make your horse hunch his back and pull his hindquarters in and a whip on the butt makes them extend and lenghten thier stride so use those tools appropriately.
 

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A copy of this should be sown to every barrel saddle made. I wouldn't have to go get a hamburger during the barrel racing if every barrel racer used this advice. I would also like to add you should figure out how fast your horse can run and quit beating it when you get there. Spurs make your horse hunch his back and pull his hindquarters in and a whip on the butt makes them extend and lenghten thier stride so use those tools appropriately.
Much agreed.
 

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Walk her around the barrels, from the ground.
Let her know they aren't going to eat her..
Just work her around them, and start her on the pattern.
 

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If you have a horse that is broke broke broke you will run more consistently and do better than a horse that is faster but poorly trained or ridden. Be warned, once you ride a good reining horse you will likely loose interest in barrel chasing.
You couldn't have said it better. My mare that we got from a lady used to barrel race and let me tell you, this horse is fast, but as for being broke and doing good she needed work. I'm done having fun and doing barrels with her, so I'm moving on to reining. BTW, she is still pretty jumpy and always wanting to go, so I think reining will be better for her.
 

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Personally, I think there are far more beneficial things you can do to make a good barrel horse at this age than walking her around the barrels. Barrels can be one of the things to desensitize her to, but walking her around the pattern isn't going to help anything. You only need to run the pattern (Or ride it) a few times before your horse knows the pattern. I like to keep my horses fresh and listening to me, so I spend very little time on the actual pattern.

Work on getting all your foundation work done before you worry about the pattern
 

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Discussion Starter #15
What do I do when I break her to get her prepared for the tight turns?? By good form I mean she is FAST!! and she has really long legs and a short back.
 

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You don't need to prepare her for the tight turns. They really aren't that tight and if she is broke well enough she will stay collected and you will have control of every part of her body so you can help her through. I wouldn't even think about a barrel pattern untill she is at least 5 years old.
 

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A good (properly trained) barrel horse has no tight turns, or fast ones. It has rated before the barrel so it can precisely arc around the barrel with a decent pocket, set up for the next one, and not do severe damage to its joints. There should be relatively low speed at the barrel, precision comes in here to keep your times down, not speed.

At her age a barrel is the last thing you need to worry about and you are wasting your time with a pattern, they both have relatively little to do with successful barrel training anyway.
 
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