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Discussion Starter #1
Hey! I have a six year old mare that is undefeated in racing, she is so fast and can turn well without barrels, but I need advice! She approaches the barrel perfectly and leaves it just as fast, but when I turn I can usually keep her from dropping her shoulder by lifting my rein, but she seems to disengage her hind quarters and turn on the forehand. Her turns are always too wide, and I've succesfully turned her before but now she kinda expects it and side passes away from the barrel, I can usually manage that though. Help would be appreciated, thanks!!
 

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Lifting a rein might create a different balance in dressage work, but will do nothing running at speed. My question is do you neck rein or direct rein? If you do the later the horse will fall away from the balance and lean too much. (Interestingly enough my old show hunter was faster than most barrel horses. Why? Because I sat still and just kept her in the middle. No kicking or flailing of using a rein excessively). Why do their drop their shoulders? They are onto the forehand too much/too much inside connection which in effect causes the leg yielding away.
 

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If this is a finished barrel horse, then this is a rider problem. If this is not a finished horse then it sounds like the horse has no business running anything and needs to go back to the basics, as many steps were skipped and any seasoned rider should know this. What has your trainer said about this ?
 

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She turns like a wheelbarrow, I understand exactly what your saying. Like bugzapper said you need to go back to basics. Go back to slow work and really work on the horse rating at the barrel. Make sure your not falling forward, using to much inside leg/rein, and check your position body and leg cues. If your horse is sensitive you maybe over cuing.

A video would be helpful.

On another note my daughters arab cross is very heavy on the forehand and we have spent years trying to fix her to no avail, partly that is what happens when kids are doing the riding. But what we finally did is changed the way she went into her turns and went from direct reining asking for a bend to, just reining around the barrels more like a rollback. My daughter rides past the barrel then just sits down, pushes with her outside leg, very little rein at at all and her pony does a rollback, keeping on her hind end and is much smoother now. Her pony is really sensitive and bends like a slinky, bending to much with very little pressure, we have found with this pony the straighter the better. We have no more wheelbarrows and her times have improved immensely.

I am not saying going to rollbacks is the answer but wanted to give an example of changing what was being done to accommodate the horse, and figuring out what works. The thing to do is go back to basics and figure out where the problem is, then go from there.
 

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Discussion Starter #5 (Edited)
Okay thanks, I think I understand now. As of now I don't actually have a "trainer" everything I do is on my own. I am teaching a pleasure horses and a jumping horse, but ironically this barrel thing seemed a little bit of a mystery to me, lol. So it sounds like it's mostly my fault, this horse actually hasn't been trained for barrels so I thought "maybe she just didn't know" but I think if I try neck reining (I always plow reined) and not drop so much into the turn, that I'd probly get a different result. As usual, the horse doesn't seem to be the problem. Thanks!
 
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this horse actually hasn't been trained for barrels
Well here's your answer. She has not been trained for barrels, so how can you expect her to RUN the pattern perfectly?

Usually, training a barrel horse takes about 2 years to have a seasoned finished barrel horse.

For your pleasure horse, do you expect to go to a breed show tomorrow and win the western pleasure class? Nope.

For your jumping horse, do you expect to do stadium jumping tomorrow, doing jumps that are 5 feet tall? Nope.

Again, that means you also can't just go run a barrel pattern and expect the horse to do it perfectly.


As of now I don't actually have a "trainer" everything I do is on my own.
Do you have access to a trainer? While I can understand the pride in doing something yourself, why make a ton of mistakes when you can learn from someone who has been there and done that?

I highly, highly recommend that you take some lessons from a trainer. I don't expect you to ship your horse off to them, but taking a lesson a few times a month can do wonders.

but I think if I try neck reining (I always plow reined) and not drop so much into the turn, that I'd probly get a different result.
And this is why you need a trainer.

You do not neck rein in barrel racing. You'll easily make your problems worse. The main cue you give your horse to turn a barrel is a direct rein. Sometimes you can have a little bit of a secondary cue with a neck rein; but sometimes not.

I encourage you to visit the Barrel Racing section on the forum
Barrel Racing

As well as a sticky we created for newbies to the sport.
http://www.horseforum.com/barrel-racing/barrel-racing-exercises-drills-116865/

but when I turn I can usually keep her from dropping her shoulder by lifting my rein, but she seems to disengage her hind quarters and turn on the forehand.
You need to go back to basics and learn how to control her body.

Can you move her shoulders with your legs? You should be able to, before you start barrel racing. You should also be able to move her ribcage and move her hind end with your legs. You've got to have total body control on her, before starting the barrel pattern. Or else you can't set your horse up to have a successful turn.

And always start at the WALK. Perfect it at the walk.

Then try the trot. Perfect it there.

Depending on the horse, it may be months before you actually lope the pattern.
 
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