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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello there!
I have been interested in barrel racing for a while as was wondering if you can properly learn this on you own. I have been riding for many years now and my aunt just gave me an ex barrel racing horse so I thought I could learn on him. She used to barrel race and I can always talk to her for pointers but we live a few hours away so to get lessons from her wouldn't work. So I came here and created an account on this Forum to ask this specific question;
Can I learn to barrel race by myself, with out a trainer?
 

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@beau159 should be able to give you better advice, since she barrel races.

But speaking as someone who started to learn and compete without a trainer in reined cowhorse, I will say that you can learn a certain amount on your own, but if you want to be competitive and correct, you will need a trainer, that 3rd eye off your horse that can point out things you are doing or not doing that you don't realize you are doing/not doing. Plus they will keep you from learning bad habits, which are a bear to correct if you don't correct them asap & they become ingrain. Ask me how I know. :icon_rolleyes:

I spent the first few years taking clinics and going to a general trainer, but when I really wanted to be competitive, I started going to cow horse trainers for lessons 1-4x a month. It was and still is invaluable.

My advice even if you want to just go have fun and not be ultra competitive, is to go to a trainer at least some times. It is easy to fall into bad habits and they will help you be correct and improve your riding.

Good luck ... post some pix of you and your pony!
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I understand.
I am naturally a very competitive person and would love to do it competitively. What I get from what you are saying is that I should be fine for learning the basics and stuff on my own, but should have a trainer or someone like my aunt watch me every so often to correct me if I am doing anything wrong as well as give me some tips? I do know that my boy is getting old but he still loves to run, he is the only one of my three (my three personal horses, I take care of 5 on my property, have three of my own) that I can easily hop on a get going. My main mare just likes the throw me if I try to gallop her (Sassy six year olds lol) and I haven't tried on my other mare because she was rescued from a kill pen 2-3 months ago and I don't wanna push her too much (she is also only 6). Duke loves to run though, he was the first horse I actually ever got on and galloped (on purpose, I did at a lesson once on accident)! I am 16 years old if you were wondering, Been riding since before I could walk, but just got my first horse in January so I didn't ride too often until a few years ago when I started going to my aunts twice a month.
Anyways, thanks for your help and if you have any other suggestions please let me know!
 

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How competitive do you want to be? And where is your riding at just in general?

I have barrel raced for a long time, and I would say that at local shows most people do not have a trainer. However, like with most things the higher the level of competition the more invested into it. I used to video tape myself and really study it to see what improvements I could make. I was fortunate enough to have pro-rodeo friends who loved to critique me (and everyone) as well.

There are tons of clinics that you can go to for tips and tricks. As well as websites and numerous other ways to learn how to barrel race. I think hiring a trainer depends on your ultimate overall goal.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
How competitive do you want to be? And where is your riding at just in general?

I have barrel raced for a long time, and I would say that at local shows most people do not have a trainer. However, like with most things the higher the level of competition the more invested into it. I used to video tape myself and really study it to see what improvements I could make. I was fortunate enough to have pro-rodeo friends who loved to critique me (and everyone) as well.

There are tons of clinics that you can go to for tips and tricks. As well as websites and numerous other ways to learn how to barrel race. I think hiring a trainer depends on your ultimate overall goal.
Since i have my horses on my property, I get to ride a lot and as I said before I have been seriously riding for a few years, but I have been getting on and off the back of a horse since before I could walk. I have taken some jumping lessons (currently my trainer is taking a break because she is due to have a baby next month I believe) and I have done lots of just leisure riding around on my aunts property and my own, as well as down the road a few times. I have three horses of my own, two mares that are both 6 (and both 14.3 AND both rescues from kill pens, very similar lol) and then my gelding who is the ex-barrel horse who is in his late teens or early 20's (I don't remember his exact age, I just got him like a week ago, though I have been riding him at my aunts for a while before. He was also rescued from a kill pen as well, but that was a while ago.
I know I would really like to be competitive but how much so I don't currently know. I have interests in other things such as show jumping and trick riding which I know would take up ALOT of my time. All I know at the moment is I have a already trained barrel horse and not any horses trained for the other two that I'd also wish to do, so at the moment I should have plenty of time to pursue this dream. While I love to get super competitive, I also know how much time that i'd have to put in for that and while I am always at home (No current job and I am homeschooled) I know that I still would like to have lots of time for the other things.
 

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I never had a trainer, just some friends to give me some pointers. I'm learning to apply things when I run still, but you can ask me anything and I usually know the correct answer on what to do. Feel free to pm me any questions you have.
 

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I never had a trainer, just some friends to give me some pointers. I'm learning to apply things when I run still, but you can ask me anything and I usually know the correct answer on what to do. Feel free to pm me any questions you have.

I don't mean to be rude by saying this, and of course it is a public forum to anyone can chime in if they want, but I caution you on your wording of "I usually know the correct answer". You might have good intentions in mind, but based on your various threads and comments, I don't believe you are in the best position to be giving a new barrel racer advice.




Hello there!
I have been interested in barrel racing for a while as was wondering if you can properly learn this on you own. I have been riding for many years now and my aunt just gave me an ex barrel racing horse so I thought I could learn on him. She used to barrel race and I can always talk to her for pointers but we live a few hours away so to get lessons from her wouldn't work. So I came here and created an account on this Forum to ask this specific question;
Can I learn to barrel race by myself, with out a trainer?

Yes you can .... but should you?



I self-taught myself and my horse to barrel race. Then later in life when I learned about everything I had done WRONG, I spent twice as much time trying to fix all my horse's training problems that I had created because I didn't know better.



So even if you didn't have aspirations to be competitive (but you say you do), I would still recommend you work with a trainer. You don't know what you don't know. There are many common mistakes that newbies make and it's so much easier on yourself and your horse to have someone knowledgable and experienced to help you.



I've been riding for over 30 years and I still go to barrel racing clinics, take lessons, and the like. There is always going to be someone that knows more than you, and there is always something you can learn.



So yes, find a local trainer that you can at least take lessons with every so often, to help keep you on track.


then my gelding who is the ex-barrel horse who is in his late teens or early 20's (I don't remember his exact age, I just got him like a week ago, though I have been riding him at my aunts for a while before. He was also rescued from a kill pen as well, but that was a while ago.

Especially for an older horse, it is a good idea to have him looked over by a good equine lameness vet before you put him back on barrels. You want to make sure he feels good and doesn't have any sources of pain that need to be addressed first.



I know I would really like to be competitive but how much so I don't currently know. I have interests in other things such as show jumping and trick riding which I know would take up ALOT of my time. All I know at the moment is I have a already trained barrel horse and not any horses trained for the other two that I'd also wish to do, so at the moment I should have plenty of time to pursue this dream. While I love to get super competitive, I also know how much time that i'd have to put in for that and while I am always at home (No current job and I am homeschooled) I know that I still would like to have lots of time for the other things.

Nothing wrong with doing a variety of things! My favorite thing to do is barrel race, but I do also like to go to local shows and do everything (English, jumping, showmanship, western pleasure, reining, trail, etc) and even started going to AQHA breed shows this year. I'm a strong advocate for having a cross-trained horse for a barrel racing horse, because it only benefits their barrel racing game! My horse Shotgun qualified for the AQHA world show in ranch horse (although we are not going - too expensive!) as well as finished 7th in the year-end standings in the 1D for my local barrel racing chapter (where we would usually get 70+ entries a night). I love it when they can do multiple things.
 

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Another idea would be to video your riding and send it to your aunt for pointers, correcting mistakes, or anything she sees that would make you a better rider.

because your guy is older, I would certainly have him checked over for any past injuries or wear and tear that might have put into retirement from barrels in the first place.
 

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I don't mean to be rude by saying this, and of course it is a public forum to anyone can chime in if they want, but I caution you on your wording of "I usually know the correct answer". You might have good intentions in mind, but based on your various threads and comments, I don't believe you are in the best position to be giving a new barrel racer advice.







Yes you can .... but should you?



I self-taught myself and my horse to barrel race. Then later in life when I learned about everything I had done WRONG, I spent twice as much time trying to fix all my horse's training problems that I had created because I didn't know better.



So even if you didn't have aspirations to be competitive (but you say you do), I would still recommend you work with a trainer. You don't know what you don't know. There are many common mistakes that newbies make and it's so much easier on yourself and your horse to have someone knowledgable and experienced to help you.



I've been riding for over 30 years and I still go to barrel racing clinics, take lessons, and the like. There is always going to be someone that knows more than you, and there is always something you can learn.



So yes, find a local trainer that you can at least take lessons with every so often, to help keep you on track.





Especially for an older horse, it is a good idea to have him looked over by a good equine lameness vet before you put him back on barrels. You want to make sure he feels good and doesn't have any sources of pain that need to be addressed first.






Nothing wrong with doing a variety of things! My favorite thing to do is barrel race, but I do also like to go to local shows and do everything (English, jumping, showmanship, western pleasure, reining, trail, etc) and even started going to AQHA breed shows this year. I'm a strong advocate for having a cross-trained horse for a barrel racing horse, because it only benefits their barrel racing game! My horse Shotgun qualified for the AQHA world show in ranch horse (although we are not going - too expensive!) as well as finished 7th in the year-end standings in the 1D for my local barrel racing chapter (where we would usually get 70+ entries a night). I love it when they can do multiple things.
I point out "usually" because I don't want to come across that I know everything, because I don't. I like it when people ask me things though, and I like encouraging people. Yes it would be awesome to have a trainer, but OP shouldn't be discouraged that she doesn't. I always wanted to barrel race as a child and I just made it happen somehow. I like researching videos and articles etc. in my free time. I'm no professional by any means, but I have learned a lot from trial and error and researching. I just feel for OP I guess because I did not get the experience growing up with it or trainers like a lot of people do.
 

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I point out "usually" because I don't want to come across that I know everything, because I don't. I like it when people ask me things though, and I like encouraging people. Yes it would be awesome to have a trainer, but OP shouldn't be discouraged that she doesn't. I always wanted to barrel race as a child and I just made it happen somehow. I like researching videos and articles etc. in my free time. I'm no professional by any means, but I have learned a lot from trial and error and researching. I just feel for OP I guess because I did not get the experience growing up with it or trainers like a lot of people do.
I didn't get to grow up with trainers. My first several barrel horses had never seen the pattern and we did it. And I was quite successful. Fortunately, I kept those horses for the entirety of their lives or they went to live in a friend's pasture because they had developed many bad habits like @beau159 mentioned with her first barrel horses. Sure they could win, but there were issues that would have made them unsuitable for many riders and honestly I would have had a hard time selling them because of the issues that I had created. Later when I knew better I sought out the advice of professionals or heck even just anyone better than myself. I video'ed my own runs to get critiques. I love going to clinics.

I recently contacted a few trainers in my area because as I get ready to start my mare on the pattern I want to ensure that we don't get those bad habits. I've been out of the game for awhile, and I know that I've missed many valuable lessons in my time off from horses.

If the OP does not want to be super competitive and just wants to have fun running at local shows then like I said in my first post I would say most do not have trainers. However, I feel that if you want to be competitive then that means having coaches and trainers until you are knowledgable enough to start your own horses.
 

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Can you? Yes. Should you? Probably not. We owe it to our horses to be the best riders/handlers/owners for them that we can be. If you can in any way swing it financially, even if you could fit in two lessons a month, is better than nothing. It can keep you on the right track, progressing and moving in the right direction, and make sure no bad habits form. Good luck OP.
 

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Is there someone in your area that is a quality instructor for barrels? If not, you may do better to train from books/instructional videos and save up your 'lesson funds' to attend 1-2 clinics a year with a quality barrel clinician even if you have to haul 2 days to get there.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
I don't mean to be rude by saying this, and of course it is a public forum to anyone can chime in if they want, but I caution you on your wording of "I usually know the correct answer". You might have good intentions in mind, but based on your various threads and comments, I don't believe you are in the best position to be giving a new barrel racer advice.







Yes you can .... but should you?



I self-taught myself and my horse to barrel race. Then later in life when I learned about everything I had done WRONG, I spent twice as much time trying to fix all my horse's training problems that I had created because I didn't know better.



So even if you didn't have aspirations to be competitive (but you say you do), I would still recommend you work with a trainer. You don't know what you don't know. There are many common mistakes that newbies make and it's so much easier on yourself and your horse to have someone knowledgable and experienced to help you.



I've been riding for over 30 years and I still go to barrel racing clinics, take lessons, and the like. There is always going to be someone that knows more than you, and there is always something you can learn.



So yes, find a local trainer that you can at least take lessons with every so often, to help keep you on track.





Especially for an older horse, it is a good idea to have him looked over by a good equine lameness vet before you put him back on barrels. You want to make sure he feels good and doesn't have any sources of pain that need to be addressed first.






Nothing wrong with doing a variety of things! My favorite thing to do is barrel race, but I do also like to go to local shows and do everything (English, jumping, showmanship, western pleasure, reining, trail, etc) and even started going to AQHA breed shows this year. I'm a strong advocate for having a cross-trained horse for a barrel racing horse, because it only benefits their barrel racing game! My horse Shotgun qualified for the AQHA world show in ranch horse (although we are not going - too expensive!) as well as finished 7th in the year-end standings in the 1D for my local barrel racing chapter (where we would usually get 70+ entries a night). I love it when they can do multiple things.
Okay, I get what you are saying. Also I would like to point out that even though my boy is old he still has a lot of pep in his step (even more so than both of my six year old mares) but I do understand what you say about vetting him. I will talk to my aunt when I get the chance about his past vetting, like I said before he was a rescue from a kill pen, but after than he was my aunts sisters horse for a while before he went to my aunts for several (not sure how many exactly but it was a long while) months, before he came to me. I do, how ever know that according to my aunts farrier, and her sisters, that he NEEDS to wear shoes on his front feet, (We tend to keep our horses barefoot unless they need shoes for some reason) his heels are low and with out them he goes lame. However, he lost a shoe and hasn't been lame with out it. Our farrier is coming tomorrow and we will see what he says about that.
I don't plan to push too much on the competitive aspect of it, and since he is old I defiantly don't want to push him a lot on training, since like I said I am interested in a lot of other things as well. The main thing I would be worried about is learning wrong and injuring him (and myself I guess but he is my main worry).
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
The main thing I am worried about is expenses as I myself don't have a job (do to mental state) and my mom helps as much as she can by giving me $20 a week which really is a lot but I use that money for my animals. I had to pay recently to neuter out puppy, and we have to spay our other dog soon, and I use it for my jumping lessons and showing costs and even chipping in on vet bills if needed. To ask my mother to pay for barrel racing lessons is a lot to ask considering everything else she does for me.
 

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The main thing I am worried about is expenses as I myself don't have a job (do to mental state) and my mom helps as much as she can by giving me $20 a week which really is a lot but I use that money for my animals. I had to pay recently to neuter out puppy, and we have to spay our other dog soon, and I use it for my jumping lessons and showing costs and even chipping in on vet bills if needed. To ask my mother to pay for barrel racing lessons is a lot to ask considering everything else she does for me.
Like someone else said, if there isn't a quality instructor in your area it may be best to learn from books, videos, etc. then go to clinics. Even if you audit a clinic you will learn a ton. I have only found one trainer in my area specific to barrel racing, and honestly the credentials of the person are not ones that I would pay to learn from. As in, they are non-existent. I have found some clinics that I want to go to but I have to fund them and haul my horse quite a ways to get there. Since she has so many holes in her fundamental training we are not ready for that.

I think if you go slowly and you just want to compete locally and not on a major state or national level then learn from videos. If the horse is already trained then you're one step closer.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Like someone else said, if there isn't a quality instructor in your area it may be best to learn from books, videos, etc. then go to clinics. Even if you audit a clinic you will learn a ton. I have only found one trainer in my area specific to barrel racing, and honestly the credentials of the person are not ones that I would pay to learn from. As in, they are non-existent. I have found some clinics that I want to go to but I have to fund them and haul my horse quite a ways to get there. Since she has so many holes in her fundamental training we are not ready for that.

I think if you go slowly and you just want to compete locally and not on a major state or national level then learn from videos. If the horse is already trained then you're one step closer.
Yes I would like to focus on local stuff as like I said before, I am worried about costs and traveling can get expensive. My Farrier just left and we are going to see how my boy does barefoot. He said that Duke (That's the horses name) has foundered at some point in the past and he looked at his teeth for me and said he is about 18. I asked him if he thought doing barrel with him would be too much on his feet and he said that he thought he would be fine, and I trust his judgement as he has been very helpfully with our horses in many ways, not just their feet.
I will do a little research today on the basics of the barrels and see how my boy is doing on his feet in a few days t see about riding. Is there any work on the ground that I should do to get him ready for it again? I know it has been a while since he has ran barrels, but we have a pattern set up and I have brought him around it and stuff so that he can get use to the barrels them self again, just not sure if there is anything specific I should do.
Thanks!
 

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Yes I would like to focus on local stuff as like I said before, I am worried about costs and traveling can get expensive. My Farrier just left and we are going to see how my boy does barefoot. He said that Duke (That's the horses name) has foundered at some point in the past and he looked at his teeth for me and said he is about 18. I asked him if he thought doing barrel with him would be too much on his feet and he said that he thought he would be fine, and I trust his judgement as he has been very helpfully with our horses in many ways, not just their feet.
I will do a little research today on the basics of the barrels and see how my boy is doing on his feet in a few days t see about riding. Is there any work on the ground that I should do to get him ready for it again? I know it has been a while since he has ran barrels, but we have a pattern set up and I have brought him around it and stuff so that he can get use to the barrels them self again, just not sure if there is anything specific I should do.
Thanks!

In fairness to Duke, I would highly recommend you take him to a lameness specialist for a vet exam - paying special attention to his front feet. It would probably be a good idea to x-ray his front feet, especially if he has foundered in the past. Asking a horse to make a tight turn around a barrel, even at a slow lope while they are learning, it very stressful on the body. And it would not be fair to him to ask him to do it if he hurts. Most horses are very willing creatures and will do their best to please us, even if something hurts. So it is our responsibility to make sure they are healthy and happy.



Horses are indeed very expensive animals, and unexpected injuries will happen at some point. One of my horses Dexter, just punctured his hock 2 months ago on something (We don't know what) and developed a joint injection. He'll probably always have a permanent problem with that hock, going forward. And we spent close to $1,000 at the vet for IV joint flushes, antibiotics, bandaging materials, gas/time to get there, etc.



While I can agree that animals are exceptionally good at helping us with various mental states, they are also expensive and it is always good to have money in savings for unexpected emergencies such as my example.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
In fairness to Duke, I would highly recommend you take him to a lameness specialist for a vet exam - paying special attention to his front feet. It would probably be a good idea to x-ray his front feet, especially if he has foundered in the past. Asking a horse to make a tight turn around a barrel, even at a slow lope while they are learning, it very stressful on the body. And it would not be fair to him to ask him to do it if he hurts. Most horses are very willing creatures and will do their best to please us, even if something hurts. So it is our responsibility to make sure they are healthy and happy.



Horses are indeed very expensive animals, and unexpected injuries will happen at some point. One of my horses Dexter, just punctured his hock 2 months ago on something (We don't know what) and developed a joint injection. He'll probably always have a permanent problem with that hock, going forward. And we spent close to $1,000 at the vet for IV joint flushes, antibiotics, bandaging materials, gas/time to get there, etc.



While I can agree that animals are exceptionally good at helping us with various mental states, they are also expensive and it is always good to have money in savings for unexpected emergencies such as my example.
I am going to have my vet see him before I do any serious barrel turns and stuff like that, just pleasure riding for now since like I said we are just trying him barefoot for the first time and also now knowing that he has foundered I don't want to do anything that might hurt him.
Would it still be okay to walk or trot the pattern with him do you think, or should I wait for that as well?
Again I am going to give him several days just in the pasture to make sure he doesn't go lame with out being shod, if he does we will have our farrier come out immediately and if not then I may do some short rides to see how he does. I don't wanna push him too much so even if he didn't have the problems with his feet or anything like that and was just going barefoot for the first time, I wouldn't be cantering him around barrels or anything.
 

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I am going to have my vet see him before I do any serious barrel turns and stuff like that, just pleasure riding for now since like I said we are just trying him barefoot for the first time and also now knowing that he has foundered I don't want to do anything that might hurt him.
Would it still be okay to walk or trot the pattern with him do you think, or should I wait for that as well?
Again I am going to give him several days just in the pasture to make sure he doesn't go lame with out being shod, if he does we will have our farrier come out immediately and if not then I may do some short rides to see how he does. I don't wanna push him too much so even if he didn't have the problems with his feet or anything like that and was just going barefoot for the first time, I wouldn't be cantering him around barrels or anything.

Walking the pattern should be fine *IF* he is okay without shoes. It just depends on his feet, if he has coffin bone rotation, and what's going on on how he will do even with just regular trail/pleasure riding.



Yes, take it slow and see how he does and get him to the vet the first chance you get.
 
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