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Barrel Question

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Hi! I'm new to Horse City!

I love to barrel race!

I had a question, though. My pony always wants to skip barrels. He's not totally focused and stuff, so he won't turn it all the way, if you get what I'm saying. He's fast and all, but his turns are just screwed up. How do you suggest I fix this in a week?! I have a barrel race in 9 days, and we're not that good yet and I really want to do well! :)

Thanks!

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Hi! I'm new to Horse City!

I love to barrel race!

I had a question, though. My pony always wants to skip barrels. He's not totally focused and stuff, so he won't turn it all the way, if you get what I'm saying. He's fast and all, but his turns are just screwed up. How do you suggest I fix this in a week?! I have a barrel race in 9 days, and we're not that good yet and I really want to do well! :)

Thanks!

1st things first Welcome to Horse City! I too share a love of barrel raceing :happy0203: To answer your question, I have some good news/advice for you and some bad too. I don't think that a week is enough time to fix the problem compleatly sorry! You should be able to start to correct the problem though. It will take time and patience.

If I am reading your post correctly and understanding it right your horse is blowing his turns by not compleating the turn fully. This is how i would correct the problem. When I am practicing I turn the barrel more than once. I do this by seting up for the turn just as I would if I was going to do a normal run but insted of leaving the barrel I keep turning it. I may have to circle the barrel 6 or more times but I keep going until my horse relaxes and quits trying to go to the next barrel. Then I move on to the next barrel and repeat. I also change up the pattern often to keep my horse guessing. The idea is to teach the horse to wait on you. I do this at a trot until I feel that the horse is ready to move on to the lope.

I also use a strong outside leg and inside rein to push my horse around the barrel if I feel him start to drift. Remember to keep your pocket's correct and even in size for your horse.

I hope this helps! If you can get a video of you and your horse running the pattern, and post it that will also help greatly. Good luck keep practicing

One other tidbit of info dont always run your horse on the pattern if you do you will sour him, and you dont want to go their trust me! variety is the spice of life, trail riding is a good thing for a barrel horse!

If you have any more questions just ask them!

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Hi! I'm new to Horse City!

I love to barrel race!

I had a question, though. My pony always wants to skip barrels. He's not totally focused and stuff, so he won't turn it all the way, if you get what I'm saying. He's fast and all, but his turns are just screwed up. How do you suggest I fix this in a week?! I have a barrel race in 9 days, and we're not that good yet and I really want to do well! :)

Thanks!

Jayknee is right.

It sounds like your horse has holes in his barrel racing training. It takes years for a horse to become completely solid and reliable on the barrel pattern, and that's no exaggeration. So it really is impossible for you to fix a bad habit that he has always had in only 9 days. It's just not a realistic goal.

Instead, I would focus on going back to slow work (walking and trotting). That's where you should start in barrel racing training and that's where you need to go back to when fixing a problem. I am sure that is not what you want to do now that you have a taste of speed, but if you truly want your horse to run barrels correctly and you truly want to do well at it, you will have to take the proper steps.

I would also turn the barrel multiple times, like Jayknee explained, to teach your horse to wait and listen to your cues. Always do something different at each turn so he does not learn to anticipate what you are going to do. And of course, don't work on the pattern every day. That will sour him on the pattern. There is lots of freestyle things you can do (circles, figure 8's, lead changes, sidepassing, etc) that work on the fundamentals of barrel racing without actually using the barrels.

You can still go to your show, but instead of setting your goal at "I want to win the barrel race" why don't you set the goal of "I want to trot a perfect pattern"? No one is going to think less of you to do the pattern slow and correct (rather than doing it fast and sloppy/wrong) and asking your horse to be correct and listen to what you are asking.

If you haven't done so already, your horse should also be responsive to your legs during the turn. That way, if he starts to drift out of the turn when you eventually pick up the pace again weeks or months down the road, you'll have a way to cue him to keep tight on the barrel and finish the turn fully. Make sure you practice using these leg cues at slow paces too (walk and trot) so that he learns what they mean.

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OK thanks!

Here's how our show went (surprisingly well!):

So I just decided to canter in between barrels and trot around the actual barrels then go as fast as possible home... So we did that pretty good actually! Our turns were surprisingly good and tight! He kept good balance and I rated him really early so we would have a good turn. Then on the way home, he kicked into high gear and went super fast, but curved a little and we missed the start/finish cones so they addded 5 seconds to our time :(. It's a new 4H show rule that you have to start and end in the cones and if not you get the same penalty as you would if you knocked a barrel. We stopped the timer at 19.64 seconds, which would have ended up as 2nd place!!! But since we got 5 seconds added, we got 6th place (out of more than 20 riders!)... I was proud of Putts! So after that, a barrel racer lady came up to me and asked me if I was in Jr. High Rodeo. I said no, because I'm not, then she asked me how often I barrel race and I said not often, once a year at this show. She was stunned and then told me I should join NBHA and that Putts and I have a lot of potential!! So she said I should run exhibition at the rodeo the night after the show (last night)... and so I did that and signed up and all, and we got there and Putts was really spooky and scared of all the lights, blaring music, and crowd. He wanted to RUN, and I didn't want him to do anything wreckless, so I didn't let him in warmup and he threw a slight fit, but I rode it out and he was fine. So I ran him a lot in warmup so he would chill out, and he did. So when our run came up, I held him back big time and cantered the whole pattern, but he got spooked by someone doing doughnuts in a monster truck (ugh, people these days.) and kinda spooked and got off course so I trotted him around the last barrel, then he KICKED IT ON!!! and I MEAN HARD! when I say kicked it on. He was SO FAST and I didn't even kick him or anything, he just knew that the home stretch was HIS time to shine, and that he did. Our time was 19.04 seconds (but it was exhibition ,, so it didn't count) I could barely get him to stop. Then another guy came up to me and asked me how much I rodeo and I said this was my 2nd rodeo with him, 3rd total, and he was astonished and said that Putts and I should do more rodeoing and try for the money in youth barrels next year!!! I think I might if we work really hard! The lady who said I should do the rodeo came up to me afterwards and said I should pursue barrel racing and that with a little practice I could be surprised at what he can do!!

Sorry that was long, just had to get it out. I'm proud! :)

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You have to start with the basics. Start at a walk and walk the course, making him turn tight around the barrels. Then do it at the trot+canter. If he refuses to turn tight, just turn him in a full circle around the barrel a couple of times so he knows your serious. Do this every time you do the barrels until he is turning tightly at the canter, then try the gallop! Slow him down to a canter several feet before each barrel comes up so that he has time to turn tightly. then, slowly get faster into the barrels. Hope this helps! : )

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