Many barrel/pole questions from an old newbie - The Horse Forum
  • 1 Post By AndalusianRobyn
  • 1 Post By OldWannabeCowboyLol
  • 1 Post By knightrider
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-27-2018, 02:10 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Lanark County, Ontario
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Many barrel/pole questions from an old newbie

Hi everyone!

Greeting from north of the 49th! I have a beautiful quarter horse that seems to like running poles - can a horse do both poles and barrels or should I pick 1? I'm just starting on poles (still a newbie overall) and loving it but I'd love any advice on tack etc, drills and the like. I'm still looking for a new saddle (just have a big, heavy Tucker trail saddle for now) and Maggie's only ever used a side pull with generic reins. I'm 52 and have no delusions of 20 second runs - more likely 1:20 (lol).


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post #2 of 7 Old 10-27-2018, 10:58 PM
Join Date: Nov 2017
Location: Canada
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Hey, Mike!

You can totally do both. As a matter a fact, it used to be most barrel horses also ran poles. Good luck with it! There are some good books on barrel racing, in particular I like Heather Smith's books. Two books of hers on exercises are '' The first 51 Barrel Racing Exercises to Develop a Champion'' and then ''The next 50 Barrel Racing Exercises for Precision on the Pattern''. I got mine on Amazon and I like the exercises.

Have fun!

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post #3 of 7 Old 10-30-2018, 09:15 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks Robyn!
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-30-2018, 10:03 AM
Join Date: Jun 2014
Location: Hildreth, FL
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Just about everyone I know runs both barrels and poles. In our club, you are not allowed to compete on a separate barrel horse and pole horse. The same horse has to run all evening or the points don't count.
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post #5 of 7 Old 10-30-2018, 10:43 AM
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Many barrel horses also know how to run poles. They might be better at one or the other, but they can sure do it. I have always taught my horses both.

As far as tack, of course, you best bet is a barrel racing saddle. It is designed to help keep you on your seat during those hard turns at speed, and the smaller lighter designs are fit for speed too.

If your horse is used to a sidepull, you might consider using a hackamore of some kind for barrels and poles. However, it just depends on the individual horse and what they need based on their turning style.

If you are able in your area, get to a barrel racing clinic. In-person hands-on training is always very helpful. The main mistake that most newbies make is starting the turn too early (barrels or poles). Never allow your horse to start turning until your knee is at or past the center of the barrel (or pole).

Ken Smith is a great resource for pole bending. He has a book, and there is this free video on YouTube

Dena Kirkpatrick also has some good videos on YouTube. Here is one of them.

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post #6 of 7 Old 11-01-2018, 04:59 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Oct 2018
Location: Lanark County, Ontario
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Thanks everybody!!!
OldWannabeCowboyLol is offline  
post #7 of 7 Old 11-01-2018, 08:28 AM
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Colorado
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I've had quite a few who loved both poles and barrels. It's hot and fast and just different enough to keep them from getting soured. I also think they compliment each other as far as keeping your horse flexible, thinking, and quick with their feet. Find a winter senior series and go have fun!!
Boo Walker is offline  

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