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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
To begin this off, I am not looking for training suggestions, I am looking for tack suggestions. TIA

I do gymkhanas(speed events) and have been currently been using a nylon tie-down. This has helped my mares balance but I am looking for something to remind her that she can not throw her nose all over the place. I am looking at rope tie-downs, rope head setters, anything. She is perfect at a slow pace and even at a canter but during a run, she loses her brain. Thanks.
 

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Can you practice a 'real' run at home? What happens when tie-downs are used is your horse depends on them for their balance when they need to learn how to balance on their own.

I know you don't want training advice, buts lots of barrelhorses lose their minds during runs. It's the real deal, and your adrenaline is flowing. She picks up on that, and it affects her behavior. My daughter has barrelraced for years and still can't be completely relaxed during a run. That's half the reason you do it right?

Practice at home without the tie-down so your horse can learn how to independently balance. If you feel the need for your safety, I suggest only a tie-down. As you both get better, lengthen her tie-down in small increments to let her adjust. She will be able to use herself so much better without one if you can wean her off of it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Can you practice a 'real' run at home? What happens when tie-downs are used is your horse depends on them for their balance when they need to learn how to balance on their own.

I know you don't want training advice, buts lots of barrelhorses lose their minds during runs. It's the real deal, and your adrenaline is flowing. She picks up on that, and it affects her behavior. My daughter has barrelraced for years and still can't be completely relaxed during a run. That's half the reason you do it right?

Practice at home without the tie-down so your horse can learn how to independently balance. If you feel the need for your safety, I suggest only a tie-down. As you both get better, lengthen her tie-down in small increments to let her adjust. She will be able to use herself so much better without one if you can wean her off of it.
Thank you for responding! I have practiced a real run at my barn and she is okay, not the best but okay. She can somewhat balance and when I added the tie down, that really helped her. Another reason for the tie down is that she is a head thrower. I know for a fact that there is nothing going on, she has been thoroughly vetted and chiroed/massaged. No ulcers either, she has been scoped. She was without proper training for about 10 years and only the last 5 years has she had any real training.
 

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To begin this off, I am not looking for training suggestions, I am looking for tack suggestions. TIA

I do gymkhanas(speed events) and have been currently been using a nylon tie-down. This has helped my mares balance but I am looking for something to remind her that she can not throw her nose all over the place. I am looking at rope tie-downs, rope head setters, anything. She is perfect at a slow pace and even at a canter but during a run, she loses her brain. Thanks.
This will be a training suggestion, sorry...

My horse, Toofine, was a head tosser when we used to game regularly - the type that stuck their nose up and fought whatever pressure was being applied anywhere - especially when entering the gate. I ran him in a tie down for a season or two, and honestly, it just added to the problem.

The only real solution was to take him off of the pattern for a while, and work around all of the obstacles while being productive - want to throw your head around? Here is a leg yield. Here is a figure eight. Here are things to do that you have to focus on and you will keep doing, until you stop tossing your head. Is he specifically fighting my hands? Release the pressure on his mouth and drive him into a circle. Make him move around, and then re-uptake my reins. Repeat as necessary. Make the tossing of their head the hard decision. It will take time, but ultimately after years of fighting my horses head, it has made running him and riding him so much more enjoyable. Occasionally he will throw his head up, but all it takes is engaging my seat and driving him forward to bring it back down.
 

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I agree. It's usually a training issue. A tie-down to give the horse something to run against is one thing. I've had rope horses that liked it. But those were broke, calm, solid horses and not ones that were head-tossers. Their tie-downs were wide and flat. You fix head-tossing with training and/or finding why she's doing it, not with a tie-down.
 

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My girlfriend runs barrels so I asked her what she thought of your issue...
She said to take the run totally apart.
Don't run the pattern, work the elements.
Teach the horse to balance on themself, not you...
Teach sections of but never the entire pattern do you run at home...
GF says the horse knows the pattern so just stop doing what actually is upsetting the horse at home and save her/him for the competition arena.
Just like a jumper horse, reining horse, or cow-horse, you have only just so many of their chosen discipline before their body starts to fail. So save the body and save the brain...

The horse has to learn to use its body properly to balance correctly...and you need to also learn to sit balanced on the turn, the dig and not interfere with the horses forward movement.
She also said to get rid of the fancy barrel bits and work at home in a basic education bit, a plain, simple bit...in fact I know she races in a single or double joint snaffle cause her horses are trained to listen to her cues...and she not be in their face.
Ride and cue with your seat and legs.

Take away the face pressure and you might also take away much of the head throwing...
:runninghorse2:...
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
This will be a training suggestion, sorry...

My horse, Toofine, was a head tosser when we used to game regularly - the type that stuck their nose up and fought whatever pressure was being applied anywhere - especially when entering the gate. I ran him in a tie down for a season or two, and honestly, it just added to the problem.

The only real solution was to take him off of the pattern for a while, and work around all of the obstacles while being productive - want to throw your head around? Here is a leg yield. Here is a figure eight. Here are things to do that you have to focus on and you will keep doing, until you stop tossing your head. Is he specifically fighting my hands? Release the pressure on his mouth and drive him into a circle. Make him move around, and then re-uptake my reins. Repeat as necessary. Make the tossing of their head the hard decision. It will take time, but ultimately after years of fighting my horses head, it has made running him and riding him so much more enjoyable. Occasionally he will throw his head up, but all it takes is engaging my seat and driving him forward to bring it back down.
Thank you! This is really interesting, I have never heard it like this. I will definitely give that a try. The thing is that we are are never on the pattern, we see patterns 1-2 times a month with maybe 1-2 shows. I will definitely do what you suggested!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
My girlfriend runs barrels so I asked her what she thought of your issue...
She said to take the run totally apart.
Don't run the pattern, work the elements.
Teach the horse to balance on themself, not you...
Teach sections of but never the entire pattern do you run at home...
GF says the horse knows the pattern so just stop doing what actually is upsetting the horse at home and save her/him for the competition arena.
Just like a jumper horse, reining horse, or cow-horse, you have only just so many of their chosen discipline before their body starts to fail. So save the body and save the brain...

The horse has to learn to use its body properly to balance correctly...and you need to also learn to sit balanced on the turn, the dig and not interfere with the horses forward movement.
She also said to get rid of the fancy barrel bits and work at home in a basic education bit, a plain, simple bit...in fact I know she races in a single or double joint snaffle cause her horses are trained to listen to her cues...and she not be in their face.
Ride and cue with your seat and legs.

Take away the face pressure and you might also take away much of the head throwing...
:runninghorse2:...

Thank you for asking her! I understand what she means, that is what I am trying to do. Like in my answer previously, we rarely do pattern work, I have 2 gaming lessons a month and 2 horsemanship/overall lessons a month. The barn that I am at has a tiny arena and no one does gaming so I was forced to do groundwork, grid-work, and all sorts of different things which I now love!!

For the bits, I have one for the actual shows that I am trying out and I only ever use it at the shows. I always work in a stubben 2-in-1 snaffle and also have a regular 3 piece copper snaffle, and a 2 piece copper snaffle for my gaming lessons. I have a camerillo tender touch short shank but I never use it.

For the piece of not interfering with how she is working, I am really trying! I used to be really heavy handed and I am proud to say that I am not and people have noticed that I ride different. I have been working on letting her work through the pattern and only slightly bump the reins if I need to but work on my seat and leg cues. We are trying to now transition this work to my actual show.

Thank you everyone!!!
 

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Do you have Sharon Camarillo's Barrel Racing book? If not, find a copy. LOTS of good information in there on keeping a horse flexible, soft, and calm when training and how to practice the pattern without actually practicing the pattern. Most barrel and gaming horses are stiff as a board. You want them soft and flexible and as responsive as a reiner or cow horse. That will solve a lot of issues right there. A soft, supple horse is usually a relaxed horse.

When I was running barrels, my horses rarely saw a pattern outside of a show. We did lots of circles, spirals, leg yields etc. all keeping them soft and relaxed. Lots of trail rides. Take them down a dirt road a couple of times a week and let them run for half a mile or so to build up endurance and let them travel and actually go somewhere. Lots of rides along the road at a long trot for 4+ miles. All of that kept them legged up, fresh, and sound without frying their minds.

With a young horse, for every show we went to and actually asked for speed on the pattern, I'd haul to two and just enter 'time only' or 'exhibition' and lope the pattern, fixing problems if they arrived. I hauled to events for over a year before we actually ever competed. The second year we competed about 1 out of 3 times. It was three years before my young horses were ready to be hauled consistently and asked for speed.

We did 90% of training at home in a ring snaffle. I used a Jr. Cowhorse bit at events.
 

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Thank you for responding! I have practiced a real run at my barn and she is okay, not the best but okay. She can somewhat balance and when I added the tie down, that really helped her. Another reason for the tie down is that she is a head thrower. I know for a fact that there is nothing going on, she has been thoroughly vetted and chiroed/massaged. No ulcers either, she has been scoped. She was without proper training for about 10 years and only the last 5 years has she had any real training.
If the vet check 5 months ago was not thorough, I would start there. This mare is 21-years-old and I would be very surprised if she didn't at least have something going on that can be addressed, in terms of lameness or soundness. I like to have any physical pain issues ruled out before you try to correct the behavioral side of things.



If you are willing, I would like to see your barrel racing video, if you PM it to me. Seeing what the horse is doing is often best in order to make a good suggestion on what will help.
 

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I know nothing about barrel racing but I would think that would be really hard on a 21 year old horse, to do seriously and not just at a casual play-day or something. At 21 I often start noticing soundness issues with my trail horses. And I would think barrel racing is much harder on them physically.
 

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The horse is 21? I missed that. Yeah, she's likely sore somewhere. 21 is when you start to look at an easier career for a gaming horse, especially one showing some issues.
 

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The horse is 21? I missed that. Yeah, she's likely sore somewhere. 21 is when you start to look at an easier career for a gaming horse, especially one showing some issues.

It was not stated here, but it was stated by the OP on the TWO other forums that the OP asked this same question. It seems very much relevant to the discussion, in my opinion.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
I am sorry that I did not mention her age before. I had asked on the other forums because I wanted to get the money knowledge possible. Thank you all for you help! This is going to be her last season of gaming and then she shall be retired. I will limit what shows she does do and not do every event, it will be more fun based. I have discussed it with my vet and he supports my decision.
 
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