I’m using myself as an example of what NOT to do.   It turns out (as usual) that the video doesn’t lie.   I had a pretty good run, our first outdoor run of the year and we placed second in the 1D against a group of horses who were also just getting rolling this spring.   Not a big jackpot, but big enough I was still surprised to place this well.   I was really tickled with my run and even told a friend the only thing I would have changed was that I would have been a bit braver on the way to first.

After watching the video, I realized I had actually lost my time on the way into second barrel.   I did that thing that I get after my riding students for doing all the time.  UGH.  I started my turn into second barrel too soon.  I also looked right at the barrel.

As you can see in the picture (red) her hip is to the outside of the turn and I’m looking at the barrel.  This resulted in us being too tight coming into the turn.

Fortunately for me, my horse saved my butt and finished second nicely with only a stutter step to get back in position.   If I were to continue down this road without recognizing this problem I will have a horse that starts shouldering and/or pulling off the backside to make up for the room I’ve taken away.

What did I do about it?
I went back to my slow work where I could feel I had created a habit.   Even at a trot I could feel she was starting the turn before I asked.  I really needed to look up over her ears and send her hip up past that barrel before allowing her to turn.    I also did a couple stops, with hip in exercises to emphasize the positioning I wanted.       For those of you that subscribe to my Barrel Racing Drills.com website, I did the “Pick Up and Turn Back” Drill at second barrel as well.

This is definitely something I recognize I caused through my riding.  I am a bit of a cautious rider so I have a tendency to think those barrels are coming up awfully fast.  Being that this was our first outdoor run of the year, we were going across there quicker than I was used too as well. You’ll see in the video the  mare just does what’s she’d told.   I’ll do better next time!  I promise.  I’m putting on my big girl panties and I’m going to ride her up into the hole :)

This is a really easy thing to get into a bad habit of if you don’t nip it in the bud.  I hope my oopsie helps you from making the same mistake.

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If you are confined to a small space, or the only ground you have to work on isn’t that great, you do have options.

Here’s a drill that NFR Qualifier, Futurity Winner, Calgary Stampede Champion Sue Smith does that will work in those cases. When your ground is poor and also when you are just learning this drill you can start at a walk-trot and still make a great difference in your horse.

I give the rundown on the how, why and cautions you should take over at our sister site www.BarrelRacingDrills.com but you can watch this video of Sue doing the drill and give it a try for yourself.

It’s a bit confusing to get the hang of but works wonders to get shoulder and hip control in young and seasoned horses.

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Lead Change Between First and Second

February 15, 2014

When do I change? Where do I change and why do I change there?   I’ve been to quite a few barrel racing clinics and these are common questions.   How do you train your horse to change leads out of first barrel (or between first and second barrel)? I’ve heard a variety of answers all [...]

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2013 NFR Round Winning Runs and Interviews

December 15, 2013

High Definition videos from the WPRA of the 2013 WNFR Round Winners.

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2013 WNFR Barrel Racing Videos

December 15, 2013

Enjoy watching all 10 rounds of the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Taylor Jacob sets a new arena record and Sherry Cervi sets an average time record while winning the World Championship.

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Reverse 8 For Improved Maneuverability

November 21, 2013

In barrel racing, it’s those smooth and effortless looking runs that can really stop the clock. Any time we can soften our horse and gain free, easy movement we have an opportunity to improve our efficiency on the pattern. The more efficient we are, the quicker our time. There are different drills and exercises that [...]

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Quick Barrel Racing Tips On Facebook

October 1, 2013

Here are some of the latest barrel racing tips we share on our Facebook page. Like our tips page page and interact for all the latest tips: Post by Barrel Racing Tips. Post by Barrel Racing Tips. Post by Barrel Racing Tips. Post by Barrel Racing Tips. Post by Barrel Racing Tips.

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“Wanna be More Fit to Ride? Ways to Get it Going!”

May 14, 2013

Riding is one of those sports where you don’t “have to” be fit to participate. Hmmmmm.  It does make a huge difference however. Every part of your riding improves the more fit you become. Fitness is not only a benefit for the obvious physical reasons, but also for the strength of your mind and the [...]

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Recipe For Success

March 14, 2013

For most of us, barrel racing is our hobby and our passion rather than a full time job.  Sometimes it can be difficult to balance our desire to barrel race with our other responsibilities like work and parenting.   Personally, I work from home with a flexible business while raising two children under 3.   I have [...]

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Serpentine for Proper Preparation

January 3, 2013

The Serpentine drill is a great exercise for gaining body control through the ribs.  It is also excellent for teaching the preparation needed for a turn at a barrel.   You can also use this serpentine exercise to practice riding on the correct diagonal as well (see our last article on that topic).   It will allow [...]

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