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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
When I got Tomahawk, they said he was "started in barrels"... I don't know what they meant it to mean...

The horse is barely broke, doesn't respond to leg or seat aids yet, doesn't know what a counter arc, half halt or side pass is! of course I am retraining him, or should I say beginning his training anyway.

I just do not see where they could possibly think he is anywhere near ready or close to "started" in barrels?

But then I got to thinking, maybe they were the type who think a barrel horse just runs around a barrel, period, and maybe just began to walk him around some barrels and called that started. So I take him near a barrel and what does he do, act like it is going to eat him!

I honestly want to know exactly what they "started" because it was not anywhere near barrel training, or really any basic training at all besides walk forward, stop...

So what does "started in barrels" mean to you guys? Like exactly at what point would you consider your horse "started" in barrels? In my opinion from the moment you first start working with a horse, if you intend to use him as a barrel horse, he is started in them...

*sorry for the rant*
 

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To me... started in barrels could be just about anything. The horse that I used to run had been "started" on barrels as well. He couldnt even lope a circle. He didnt know how to pick up and mantain a lead. They soured him to the arena all together. So, with him, he had to be started from scratch.

With most horses I've been on, I've restarted them just because I like my horses to have a specific feel to them. I like to feel like I'm in a helicoptor cockpit...lots of buttons. But I've always been the kind to rather train my own than to have somone else do all the work.
 

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Sounds like they just wanted to sell him, thought he was hot, and that a barrel racer would like him. Happens all the time here. Just a bunch of jerk sellers. Did you make them ride him before you bought him?
To me, started in any discipline means that they have the basics down solid - leg & seat cues, and that they could be taken to a local show to compete in whatever it is they're started in. Having walked them around the barrels is not started to me. For my liking, they need to be able to at least canter around the barrels and not go out a length or more from them. By my definition, you just have a green horse.
 

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I would steer clear of any horse that was claimed to be "started in barrels". I have seen horses that were considered by thier owners to be finished barrel horses that I wouldn't ride across the street. I would expect the same from a started barrel horse as I would a started reining horse. Somebody had a horse they could barely ride and couldn't stop and they wanted to get rid of it. The horse is darn lucky someone bought him that knows what a horse is supposed to be.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
He was given to me, Grandpa(knows zero about horses) bought him for $400...

I just contacted the previous owners when he asked me if I wanted him...

I wouldn't spend money on a horse someone claims has been started in barrels, usually you get the backyard trainers who know squat... like the people who had Tom, but alas, I see the potential so I am undertaking training once again...And yup Kevin my thoughts exactly.
 

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started in barrels can me so many things from A to Z. Some are just starting to run the pattern, others have just walked around the pattern once. But in your case, it sounds like they just wanted to sell him.
 

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You'dbe amazed how many barrel horses have no leg aids and don't respond to seats. You can get away with that in most gaming events, and a lot of people do. Barrels doesn't require as much training as most of the other sports.....but mind you, it sure helps if your horse knows these things.
 

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Just adding to what Sorrelhorse said... While I agree on a certain level, I just wanted to solidify something for the barrel enthusiasts on this board.

Although you can "barrel race" without the proper training on a horse, you can also do every other dicipline. My point is, if you want to be a successful COMPETITOR, then having a properly trained horse is a must. The truth is that good barrel horses have just as much training put into them as any reiner, pleasure horse, or jumper. Hours and hours of hard work is put into every barrel. In fact, I would venture to say that good barrel horses are better trained than most any other dicipline of horses. They MUST do everything that a reiner/WP horse/jumper/etc is doing, but within a matter of milliseconds.

Barrel racing is just one of those diciplines that can get away with bad riding or training because of, 1-it isnt judged, and 2- I believe the 4D format has a lot to do with it.

If you go to a 1D, your not going to see the same people as in a 4D.

Just pointing something out.
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
Just adding to what Sorrelhorse said... While I agree on a certain level, I just wanted to solidify something for the barrel enthusiasts on this board.

Although you can "barrel race" without the proper training on a horse, you can also do every other dicipline. My point is, if you want to be a successful COMPETITOR, then having a properly trained horse is a must. The truth is that good barrel horses have just as much training put into them as any reiner, pleasure horse, or jumper. Hours and hours of hard work is put into every barrel. In fact, I would venture to say that good barrel horses are better trained than most any other dicipline of horses. They MUST do everything that a reiner/WP horse/jumper/etc is doing, but within a matter of milliseconds.

Barrel racing is just one of those diciplines that can get away with bad riding or training because of, 1-it isnt judged, and 2- I believe the 4D format has a lot to do with it.

If you go to a 1D, your not going to see the same people as in a 4D.

Just pointing something out.
Thank you for posting that, I had a little temper snap when I read that barrel horses require less training than any other discipline, so I did not reply...

That really bothers me to no end when people think you can take a horse get it to gallop and turn and set it on a pattern and you have a barrel horse.( ans consequently that is why you see so many broken down and crazy ex gaming horses being sold for 50 dollars at auction because they are no longer ride able)
That is true if you have no idea what they are doing, but a horse has to be very well trained (more than most disciplines) in order for it to be able to perform at such a high intensity and not suffer joint and muscle as well as emotional and mental problems.

It has to know how to arc, counter arc, move each part of its body from the slightest cue and in a moments notice, collect and elongate, rate, turn on its haunches and its forehand, half halt, lift and bend its spine and ribcage, lift its front end, and much more. It takes a very long time to get a genuinely good barrel horse that has staying power and the mindset to compete successfully.

Whew, wrote yet another novel...
 

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WOW, Barrel horses dont need any training...nice. Then why cant my horses run barrels? My team roping and working ranch horses have no idea what to do when it comes to running a pattern, which is why we are in the market for a barrel horse for me.

All horses can go down and turn around a barrel, but a good barrel horse has significately more training AND a rider who understands that its more then just running and turning.

I would be very careful purchasing a "started in" horse, however I wouldnt rule it out. I would go see it, get on it and see what it can or cant do...thats the only real way to find out for yourself what your getting into.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
^^ He was a gift horse.

If it was a buy situation, I never would have given it a chance, I know what it takes to have a good barrel horse, but most people I know think a barrel horse is just trained to spin around a barrel, so I won't waste my time or money on a horse that has been messed with and labeled "started" in barrels. Tom is a prime example of why I don't.

BTW, his training is going great. We are working on his flexibility at the moment as well as his cues and ground manners. It is going to take a bit but I think he is going to be a great(slightly attitudinal) all around horse, he is very bright!
 

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I realize I must've set off a time bomb when I said that in my last post, so if you all could please here me out...

I myself am a serious barrel competitor. I love it, I wouldn't trade it for anything. But I am merely stating the fact that if you are honest with yourself, it is a lot easier. I've noticed a lot of god-awful idiots get on a horse with no leg, hardly any training, and walk out with an A division time and a new saddle at High Point. It makes me mad, considering my horse and many other horses there are highly trained five-figure horses and we put love and effort into our horses every day.

And it also angers me that some barrel racers are blind to the this simple fact. I am proud to be a barrel racer, and proud to walk out doing my best even if I am beaten by those less talented and less trained. But, it is so much less complicated than other sports. I used to think it not when barrel racing was all I did. But since I started getting into the hunter-jumper and reining cowhorse industry I realize just how easy it actually is in comparison to the other equestrian sports. I never said it was easy, merely easy in comparison.

So let's not take my previous post the wrong way. It was my fault for not wording it correctly.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
NONONO! I did not mean that toward you, though it did kinda rub wrong, I know what you meant! Sorry if it felt like we were after you! We were just making a piont just like you deary.

I just do not see how you think it is less complicated? Sure the pattern is easy, but the conditioning and mental preparation alone are huge!

And as Kevin stated, a good barrel horse should be trained just like a reiner, with that level of skill. I think you are over simplifying it IMO, it really does take as much training and consideration to have a good barrel horse with staying power as it does to train a reiner. But of course this is a difference in opinion and we could argue till the end of time about it....
 

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If I was selling a horse that I was calling started in barrels, they would be responsive to leg aids and neck reining. They would know both leads and pick them up consistently, also flying changes. I would also have them doing the pattern consistently at w/t/l, if not at speed occasionally. I love people who say "started this" and "started that" cause those are usually the most improperly trained horses you will ever find. My Dad took in a horse that had been "started under saddle" that was too rotten to even be a saddle bronc in a rodeo. In my Dad's words "Casey Tibbs would have had trouble riding that horse."
 

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I remember looking at barrel horses about ten years ago. Some of the horses "started" in barrels literally just knew how to run with a saddle on. ETA: Oddly enough, I ended up with a western pleasure horse when we went barrel horse shopping. His personality sold me and I got sucked into a whole 'nother world of showing. I do miss having a horse with some speed, though.

In my opinion, started in barrels should be basic leg yields, neck reining and preferably lead changes. A responsive horse, really. With a good stop, too. In addition, of course, to the regular gait changes.

I wouldn't expect a horse started in barrels to know how to run a barrel pattern per se, but I would expect them to at least know how to yield to my leg!

Good luck with your new horse, that really sucks that he was advertised wrong, but I'm sure you'll be able to teach him how to be a barrel horse. :)

Started barrel horse for sale- he runs FAST the other way when I'm coming with his halter. He turns around trees with phenomenal accuracy. Never been saddled. Would have a great barrel time. ;)
 
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