This is an excellent video from Ty Mitchell from the Josey Ranch Team of trainers. He talks about some of the things we can do as riders to prevent alleyway anxiety in our horses. He will demonstrate how to be prepared for different setups and still be successful.
Prevention really is the key and he talks about some of the strategies to do that. Every horse is a bit different so getting your game plan and strategy for the alleyway in mind in advance, is key. Being prepared in the alleyway is part of getting consistent.
The horses don’t necessarily know our names, but they certainly feel our nerves!
Ty suggests trying to channel any nervous energy you may have in a positive way.
If you’ve already got problems, you’ll want to watch right through to the end. Ty talks about what to do with horses that want to turn around and circle. He suggests you turn them the opposite of where they want to go, while keeping an eye on where you want to go (even if you aren’t facing that way). Your body will follow your eyes. Try and stay relaxed and ready to make a move.
He also suggests to use progression where you would walk, trot and lope into your run rather that blasting from a stop.
One barrel horse training exercise he likes to do is “Loping in the Hot Zone”. He suggests loping circles down at the stopping end, then walking through the pattern. Make him work where he feels the anxiety and continue loping until he starts to relax.
The Josey Ranch has a lot of great resources on Youtube and online and on their website www.BarrelRacers.com