The Chronicle of the Horse
MagazineNewsHorse SportsHorse CareCOTH StoreVoicesThe Chronicle UntackedDirectoriesMarketplaceDates & Results
 
Page 1 of 3 123 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 41
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default Question for Barrel Racers

    I'm curious on what made you decide to start training your horse to be a barrel racer, or for you to start barrel racing? Was it because your horse loved to run, had good turns?

    I've always been hunter/jumper/dressage rider and have ridden barrel racers before, but now the husband wants one for the kids... We do have a Quarter Horse broodmare in the field who is a possibility, she just needs the training. I'm not 100% convinced I want to train her for contesting. She was just broke to ride back in february so I feel we can go any direction right now since the basics are covered.

    So to help me out..what made you decide?



  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar. 14, 2010
    Location
    Earlysville, Virginia
    Posts
    3,267

    Default

    Oh im interested to hear the answers too. I've started playing around with barrels and the pattern recently with my semi-retired gelding....he loves it!
    Charlie Brown (1994 bay TB X gelding)
    White Star (2004 grey TB gelding)

    Mystical Moment, 1977-2010.



  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,434

    Default

    A bit of both making money, and having a better chance at Hi-Point trophy for whoever was riding. I did it for myself with various horses. Sometimes the money won was what paid for the showing. DD needed to have speed ability for School Equestrian Team, along with her other horse skills on the old boy. She had to teach him herself, put in the HOURS of teaching him to do things well. Made them a better Team, and she learned a lot. I got a lot of compliments on her riding Speed things. The two of them always looked like it was FUN, never needed any bat or spurs to get his best effort. She just chirped and he FLEW! She also did Speed at open shows, 4-H, because it was fun, let her play in more classes during the day. She didn't always get first, but she usually placed because horse was in the correct position for his turns, or putting her where she needed to be for Flags. No wasted motion or runouts. Lots of faster horses, but they had no control on them so she beat them. We both did Barrels, Poles, Flags. I did some other classes, but her horse wasn't built to stop, so no hard stopping classes for her.

    Our horses who did barrels and speed events were SOLID in their Pleasure skills, did Trail, Jumping before they were taught to do speed things. We don't allow babies to jump or run, in their training. All speed and jumping is done after they are at least 6yrs old, have solid legs, mature body and training to build on.

    A big factor in OUR training is using a mechanical hackamore, no mouthpiece, for speed things. Horses KNEW that bridle meant they got to run. They were trained slowly, got the patterns down so it was a trench in the dirt. No variation from the same pattern around the barrels or poles, or flags. Lots and LOTS of walking the patterns over and over. The running part was last. They all got prancy with the mechanical hack on!! All their other skills used bits with mouthpieces.

    It is FUN to RUN, whatever the class in the speed events. Such a big change from going "on the bit" in total control all the time.

    I would not run a horse who is just learning riding skills. Horse needs to get polished in correct responses at slower speeds, getting around the ring in correct gaits, managing quietly in group riding. I would give her at LEAST a year of MUCH RIDING work, and see how she is at the end of that. Should include trail rides, workouts, things that are new and different for her. Being older she may catch on quicker, but you want her DEPENDABLE before learning about running. Especially with little kids or even bigger kids on her.

    None of mine are EVER allowed to continue after a WHOA. Kids are bad about that, so you have to supervise them. You only use the Whoa word when you MEAN to stop, and you STOP every time you use it!! One of the first part of kids riding lessons. Whoa is your emergency brakes, and if you need to STOP, it has to work EVERY TIME, even at speed. I could stop our horses from the rail or gate if needed, because the Whoa was ALWAYS enforced. You say it, they stop, NO EXCUSES! That stopping well, has been a life-saver more than once in keeping bad from going to worse, in situations.



  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default

    My suggestion is this (for anyone who wants to train and run a barrel horse...): make sure they are 100% on ALL the basics, and that they are consistent with all of them. If you can't get on a horse and ask for bend, collection, and all three gaits thru the canter, and know that the horse will be reliable and responsive every time, he isn't ready to add speed. They should be soft in the bridle, moving off your seat and legs, know how to correctly travel in a circle (think a horse that will drop in the circle isn't going to be successful if they are not able to keep their shoulder out of the barrel in the turns).

    Also, making sure the horse is a good citizen before adding speeds helps to prevent getting a hot-head later on (or right off the bat!) Keep things changed up, don't ride in the ring ONLY when you're going to speed around barrels. Keeping them on their toes and guessing "what will we do today in the ring?" prevents them from turning into the "OMG! WE'RE GOING IN THE GATE...MUST RUN BARRELS!!!"
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post

    A big factor in OUR training is using a mechanical hackamore, no mouthpiece, for speed things. .
    I haven't thought of switching bits for running and it makes perfect sence. Thank you!

    Quote Originally Posted by goodhors View Post
    Horse needs to get polished in correct responses at slower speeds, getting around the ring in correct gaits, managing quietly in group riding. I would give her at LEAST a year of MUCH RIDING work, and see how she is at the end of that. Should include trail rides, workouts, things that are new and different for her. Being older she may catch on quicker, but you want her DEPENDABLE before learning about running. Especially with little kids or even bigger kids on her.

    None of mine are EVER allowed to continue after a WHOA. Kids are bad about that, so you have to supervise them. You only use the Whoa word when you MEAN to stop, and you STOP every time you use it!! One of the first part of kids riding lessons. Whoa is your emergency brakes, and if you need to STOP, it has to work EVERY TIME, even at speed. I could stop our horses from the rail or gate if needed, because the Whoa was ALWAYS enforced. You say it, they stop, NO EXCUSES! That stopping well, has been a life-saver more than once in keeping bad from going to worse, in situations.
    She's had tons of riding this year and shes been taken to many shows. I've done hunter under saddle, reining, and some dressage on her, all she was excellant at. She seems to be ready to start aiming for a job. She is a very fast learner with an excellant attitude. I even feel confortable walking my 2 year old around on her.

    I never ever let any of my horses get away with not stopping on Whoa. She actually will slide stop when you say whoa so my daughter, who rides her occasionally, knows to hold on when you say whoa. Whoa is definatly a first part in children riding lessons.

    She does anything you ask her on the ground or on her back. I definatly know that I do not want her to think everytime we enter an arena she is to run. I want to be able to have her versatile, so my dauhter can show her in hunter under saddle, showmanship, and barrel racing. I did it on my first horse and this mare has the fame of mind she could be just that versatile.
    (obviously I will be taking my time and making sure all the basics are there before I proceed... You can't teach a horse to do anything advanced if they don't know the basics)



  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by SuckerForHorses View Post
    My suggestion is this (for anyone who wants to train and run a barrel horse...): make sure they are 100% on ALL the basics, and that they are consistent with all of them. If you can't get on a horse and ask for bend, collection, and all three gaits thru the canter, and know that the horse will be reliable and responsive every time, he isn't ready to add speed. They should be soft in the bridle, moving off your seat and legs, know how to correctly travel in a circle (think a horse that will drop in the circle isn't going to be successful if they are not able to keep their shoulder out of the barrel in the turns).

    Also, making sure the horse is a good citizen before adding speeds helps to prevent getting a hot-head later on (or right off the bat!) Keep things changed up, don't ride in the ring ONLY when you're going to speed around barrels. Keeping them on their toes and guessing "what will we do today in the ring?" prevents them from turning into the "OMG! WE'RE GOING IN THE GATE...MUST RUN BARRELS!!!"
    Thank you for the advice. In my opinion this is excellant advice and I would never ever consider children riding her unless I knew she was safe (well as safe as I can get with a horse). Heck my husband does not ride unless I know the horse is safe. I want to be able to have a calm horse where I can ask anything I want at anytime with no arguments. I'm mainly unsure of bringing her into the contesting world because I've seen so many HOT horses that lose their cool and there is no way ever I will let my children or husband get on a horse like that.



  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    I did it back in the day lol because it was fun and my horse was fast lol. Please ESP for kids you make sure you have a horse that is soft and supple. Truthfully my barrel horse could perform 1st level dressage movements nicely I've found that a bendable horse is a more responsive horse but also they can maneuver the barrels much better than a stiff as a board horse. A lot of barrel horses do go very stiff and counter bent. IMO a good barrel horse is able to bend around that barrel for one to get closer to the barrel without throwing a shoulder into it because they are counter bending and dropping the shoulder. Of course at speed it's not like riding a dressage test in the bend lol. You should put the inside leg on at the barrel and help out with rein to pick up the shoulder through the turn then outside leg back on anD kick on to the next. Make sure you have out great brakes on any horse you want to run. The idea like said above of whoa is great. But dont allow a step after that whoa. Start at the walk and as soon as it learned move up the gaits. Eventually you should get a nice sit into the whoa at whatever speed but you also make sure you have the horse working from the backend for him to sit into it. Whoa is a biggie ESP for kids. I agree mix it up. Don't drill barrels or speed even in the beginning. You can easily make a hot hot horse. Throw in jumping dressage trail rides and just getting on on some days and hanging out no hard work. Usually this will keep from frying their brain that all they are suppose to do is run. Always start the barrels at the walk until it is at such ease for you and the horse and they listen to your body then move to the trot. Also when you have added speed take days where you just trot the barrels and that's it.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    Honestly to have a good barrel horse they need to have fire in them. The fire doesn't have to be dangerous though but they do need to like to run and aren't lazy. I've also found asking a lazy horse that doesn't like to run to constantly run makes them grumpy and sour and you'll start getting a horse that won't turn the barrels and I've actually seen horse that slow down a lot durning their run just refusing to go fast also have seen some turn to rearers which is sooo scary.
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rabicon View Post
    Honestly to have a good barrel horse they need to have fire in them. The fire doesn't have to be dangerous though but they do need to like to run and aren't lazy. I've also found asking a lazy horse that doesn't like to run to constantly run makes them grumpy and sour and you'll start getting a horse that won't turn the barrels and I've actually seen horse that slow down a lot durning their run just refusing to go fast.
    She definatly does have a fire in her, but I've never actually let her run full speed. I can tell she hates the slow collected canter. She will do it, but she seems much happier on a hand gallop, which is why I'm throwing this idea around. This fall when the fields are all cut down I'll take her out and let her run at full speed and see what she's like. If she doesn't have that fire I think she has then we can scratch this idea and move on.



  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    Careful if you've never let her go. Lol. Sometimes a greenie will get excited with a full out gallop the first time and give a few bucks. Good lick and I hope she works out for the kiddos
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Thank you!

    If anyone else has any reasons why they decided to start barrrel racing I'm still interested!



  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default

    I did it because all my friends did, my mare was a firecracker, and it IS an awesome adrenaline rush! My mare is retired now (she got too hot even though I mixed it up & did all sorts of stuff with her & her hocks started to bother her...arthritis)
    My gelding is working on his training & good citizen card right now. In a few years, ill be starting him on the pattern. He is the greenie who bucks when he gets excited
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb. 16, 2003
    Location
    MI USA
    Posts
    7,434

    Default

    I will add on that with our horses doing "everything" that we worked on fitness and used ALL the gaits while going around the ring. If you have a good sized arena, you will want to do your practices for any of the disciplines you show and do all the speeds possible in each gait.

    With the Driving horses, we are expected to do two walks, three trots, and our horses do WP canter, english canter, a hand gallop and a real gallop. We can do them ridden or driven, and do. Horse is to accept that reins will let them move forward, and then take them up for these speeds "within" a gait. You can have heads collected, allow noses out to get more forward. If you work at it enough, horse gets comfortable going along briskly in a "ground covering canter, then gallops, back to a pleasure type canter or trot, as you ask. It is NO BIG DEAL to do gait changes, so NOTHING TO GET EXCITED about, and they settle. Not rooting or head high, to go again.

    Sometimes you want to save the faster work till EVERYTHING ELSE has been worked on, so he is doing his gallop work and tires faster in the big circles. He canters or gallops, trots, and gets rather fatigued!! However he MUST keep going until ASKED to slow down. Doing that faster work while tired, seems to take a lot of the fun out of going fast!!

    This is what I call changing it up, some of everything in one longer session. None of ours get "one hour" works by the clock! We can be polishing up a lot of stuff, and finally get to the cantering collected, hand galloping, then more cantering. Our ring is large, so they do get some milage done with this kind of work. You may want to use boots, tired legs may get sloppy in speedy work.

    The above is done with a bit in his mouth, because I might want to use those things in a ride-off or showing them to others. I am also building his wind with these works, getting him fitter, breathing better.

    The mechanical hack is used when there are things in the ring to work with, poles, barrels. Horse is expected to walk, trot, be calm as he goes around the items in the "drilling" needed to keep him sharp for these games classes. If he ACTS hot or silly, well that is about 5 more rounds at a flat walk for him!! He can be happy, but he STILL must be obedient whatever tack is on his head! He gets to run when ASKED, not before, and no being stupid after. We really don't do a lot of speed in games practices.

    I would suggest you might do your pleasure riding practice, then swap bridles and walk some barrels. He should stay levelheaded, obedient. Then swap back to pleasure equipment, and ride asking for pleasure gaits. I think it is a GREAT way to train horses to "work as asked". Horse should have no problem going from speed to pleasure and back the other way, if you TRAIN him that way. Other kids used to whine they couldn't slow their animals down after games to do pleasure, so we had to put pleasure first in the classes. Funny, there were some folks that never had that problem! We were among them, because horses were obedient to what we asked of them.

    I have had some real firecrackers, and if you train them right, they do swap from slow to fast to slow, if you ask them to.

    Sorry, I am going to say running the horse as fast as she can go over the fall fields is NOT the best way to get her running under control. Do your work in the arena, on a track, with limits for her. HOW she runs is up to you, and it is best learned in a controlled area like an arena. Free running might just wreck a lot of the work you have put into her. Teach her to run fast and slow when ASKED, get her tired and WILLING to stop easily on light reins when you want her to in the arena, before doing any wild-eyed runs cross-country or down the road.



  14. #14
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default

    I disagree with swapping headgear/bits. I want my horse responsive & soft to my bit EVERY time. I don't want him knowing by a bit or lack of that he will be doing speed with one vs. Pleasure work with another. This adds to his knowing & predicting a certain activity (i.e. he's going to know you're going to do speed stuff when u put on a hackamore). They need to be able to be ridden & responsive to what your asking without adding that predictability.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2012
    Location
    Ohio
    Posts
    160

    Default

    Thank you for all the advice!
    Right now my arena is far from being completed so I'm practicing in a grass field that isn't too large. I used to ride in the fields alot when I was younger because we didn't have the large arena. I will definatly not let her flat out run, just a controlled faster canter.. I don't want or need to get hurt if she gets out of control.

    I don't own a hackamore but I think I'll buy one anyway just to try out different bits. Honestly, she seems happier when I ride her in a halter rather than a bit.



  16. #16
    Join Date
    Jan. 1, 2008
    Posts
    4,896

    Default

    Believe it or not, breeding on a barrel horse is very important. Much like cutting and reining horses, certain lines are known to produce good barrel horses.

    A horse that is a good reiner will not make a good barrel horse without extensive retraining.

    It's harder than it looks and the training is very specific, at the higher levels, especially. How the horse enters the turn around the barrel (a combination of stop/pivot/bend/forward at the same time) and heads for the next is hard to train. It's where the time is made up and is critical in a top barrel horse.

    The really good barrel horses I've watched are NOT hot, at all. Fast and athletic, yes. But once they cross the start line, they are all business.

    Get yourself some of Martha Josey's books. She's probably one of the best, both as rider (I think she's retired now) and as a trainer. I would think she's online, as well.
    Fan of the Swedish Chef



  17. #17
    Join Date
    Jul. 6, 2004
    Location
    East Central Mississippi
    Posts
    1,404

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by snydere02 View Post
    I'm curious on what made you decide to start training your horse to be a barrel racer, or for you to start barrel racing? Was it because your horse loved to run, had good turns?

    I've always been hunter/jumper/dressage rider and have ridden barrel racers before, but now the husband wants one for the kids... We do have a Quarter Horse broodmare in the field who is a possibility, she just needs the training. I'm not 100% convinced I want to train her for contesting. She was just broke to ride back in february so I feel we can go any direction right now since the basics are covered.

    So to help me out..what made you decide?
    I decided to be a barrel racer (and quads and poles, and arena race) because that is the type show offered in my area. The closest english shows are about two hours away, while there are multiple western shows every weekend w/in 40 minutes of the house.

    I did the math - so I do the speed shows. <lol>

    I take whatever horse I have, and I teach them what they need to know to do the disciplines I dabble in. But I do it for fun because I just love horses and want to be doing something w/them. If I wanted to for sure COMPETE and WIN at speed shows I would go buy a horse who was bred to do that job, and I would listen to people who are RUNNING and WINNING at major national shows, and I would do what they said do.

    There are plenty of ringside coaches, both english and western, who will give you advice from a weekend-rider viewpoint - and they might know a lot of what they're talking about... but if you want to excell in any discipline, you'll be ahead of the game to go find someone who does it for a living.





    The major thing I see in your post that hasn't been covered, that I saw, in the replies is this ----- if you and your hubby want your kids to barrel race, don't take a broodmare from your pasture and get her trained. <lol> Go find a horse who is currently doing what you want your kids to be doing - and buy that horse. You wouldn't take a green broodmare and stick them in an o/f class after a few lessons w/a trainer, I wouldn't think. Don't make that mistake w/your kids' barrel horse. Find a horse who is carrying a kid around the patterns safely, that the kid has maybe outgrown, and go from there. Your kid will be safer, and have a lot more fun. It's never fun to "learn w/your horse" in a discipline neither of you know. imho
    Never explain yourself to someone who is committed to misunderstanding you.



  18. #18
    Join Date
    Feb. 1, 2012
    Location
    Vermont
    Posts
    5,384

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by arena run View Post
    The major thing I see in your post that hasn't been covered, that I saw, in the replies is this ----- if you and your hubby want your kids to barrel race, don't take a broodmare from your pasture and get her trained. <lol> Go find a horse who is currently doing what you want your kids to be doing - and buy that horse. You wouldn't take a green broodmare and stick them in an o/f class after a few lessons w/a trainer, I wouldn't think. Don't make that mistake w/your kids' barrel horse. Find a horse who is carrying a kid around the patterns safely, that the kid has maybe outgrown, and go from there. Your kid will be safer, and have a lot more fun. It's never fun to "learn w/your horse" in a discipline neither of you know. imho
    I disagree. If the kids have never barrel raced before, even a horse that has been outgrown from its current child could be too much for the kid to handle. Also, it sounds like the OP is not in this for the money, but for the fun. If I had a horse that could be safely used to start my kids on barrel racing, I would use that horse, and save my money. Good kids' barrel horses are hard to find, and even harder to find an affordable one!

    If your mare is sane enough to put a kid on and let them dabble on the pattern, go for it.
    "If you think nobody cares about you, try missing a couple payments..."



  19. #19
    Join Date
    Oct. 10, 2007
    Location
    down south
    Posts
    5,060

    Default

    Disagree also. Any horse can be a barrel horse at saddle club levels for fun. No they aren't going to be running the women's rodeo circuit but for kids to get on and run around a barrel almost any horse can do it if trained properly. My old barrel horse was bred as a header but he could rock a barrel pattern. She is thinking of something to do with broodmare so why not put a year of training in her and see how it goes. Yes it takes time but it doesn't sound like op is in a major hurry here. She may not work out and she may hate a barrel pattern but why not see what you got before running and buying another horse. Also agree that if these kids have never ran barrels and are beg or even adv beg kids even an out grown barrel horse is probably going to be way to much for these kids. Truthfully with this broody I'd first go through the training and just make her canter the barrels eventually and not ask for the speed so the kids can train on her and learn the basics themselves before throwing speed in the mix
    Horses aren't our whole life, but makes our life whole



  20. #20
    Join Date
    Jan. 4, 2007
    Location
    TX
    Posts
    42,433

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by rabicon View Post
    Disagree also. Any horse can be a barrel horse at saddle club levels for fun. No they aren't going to be running the women's rodeo circuit but for kids to get on and run around a barrel almost any horse can do it if trained properly. My old barrel horse was bred as a header but he could rock a barrel pattern. She is thinking of something to do with broodmare so why not put a year of training in her and see how it goes. Yes it takes time but it doesn't sound like op is in a major hurry here. She may not work out and she may hate a barrel pattern but why not see what you got before running and buying another horse. Also agree that if these kids have never ran barrels and are beg or even adv beg kids even an out grown barrel horse is probably going to be way to much for these kids. Truthfully with this broody I'd first go through the training and just make her canter the barrels eventually and not ask for the speed so the kids can train on her and learn the basics themselves before throwing speed in the mix
    While this is the way most start in barrel racing, being their own trainers with a horse that has never been trained too well for anything much, that is also where some common problems down the road come from.

    There are many good, quiet old competition horses out there if someone wants to learn to do speed events well, not end up a kick and jerk event with a half out of control, confused horse.

    I say, if you go the self trained with your horse route, do find someone locally that is starting kids and horses for those playday events and have them train you and your horse.

    There are several people around here, where playdays are a big thing, doing a very good job of just that.
    There are also many that are winging it and it is sad for them and their horses, to see how something simple as acquiring some good, basic knowledge was missed in the fun of the games and the kids and horses are an accident about to happen.

    Playdays are really so much fun and a good way to educate your kids about horses and have good family time with horses and kids.
    See if in your area there is an active, good 4H horsemanship club and ask the county agent about it and who else may be good to get your horse and family started.

    OP, remember, knowledge is your friend and now you have more to go with, do it right and have fun.
    If you were here, I know some really good barrel racers that love to teach kids and their horses and all have a great time and in the end, that is what matters with kids.



Similar Threads

  1. Ring maintenece for barrel racers??
    By mpsbarnmanager in forum Western
    Replies: 11
    Last Post: Oct. 17, 2012, 03:11 PM
  2. A Barrel Horse Question - Price
    By desertmyst in forum Off Course
    Replies: 9
    Last Post: Apr. 17, 2012, 02:21 PM
  3. Barrel Racing/Western Events-a question
    By Calvincrowe in forum Off Course
    Replies: 14
    Last Post: Jan. 28, 2011, 12:53 PM
  4. Any barrel racers?
    By Derby Lyn Farms in forum Sport Horse Breeding
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: Sep. 17, 2009, 03:40 PM
  5. Where are all the QH ex-racers?
    By seeuatx in forum Off Course
    Replies: 22
    Last Post: Apr. 9, 2009, 01:25 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •