Fallon Taylor offers several great free barrel racing videos with tips on YouTube. Here is one of her helpful videos that talks about how to deal with a barrel horse that has a tendency to shoulder the barrels.
In the video she focuses on the second barrel. The second barrel is the hardest turn because we have to make a full circle turn around it. One of the first problems she discusses at second barrel is when riders don’t finish their first barrel properly and end up moving their horses over too far and going into second on the wrong lead This in turn causes the horse to change its lead in a difficult position making him come out wide on the backside because he has to take his room there.
Fallon Taylor demonstrates a few solutions to shouldering including counter arcing the horse away from the barrel, then pushing him past the barrel following up with finishing the barrel.
Here is the video:
As the barrel racing tips video continues she demonstrates where she likes to rate and position her horse going into the barrel for the most efficient turns (she likes to be 4-6 feet out and rate and stop when her knee is at the barrel). Fallon talks about body and hand position too. She suggests you sit deep and being sure to not pick up too early on your horse.
The bit she mentions and shows at the end would be a good bit (as she suggests) to use on a horse that has a tendency to shoulder.
have a barrel horse 60 days training on just started exhibitioning, sets good into the turn on first barrel then goes stiff shakes her head then comes around, had her teeth worked on had a wolf tooth that was hurting but now she still wants to do the same doesn’t do that on 2nd or 3rd. wat bit would you suggest? i have Cheri Servie gag no shanks
If I understand correctly the bit you are using is a “draw gag” (the rope pulls through the bit?). If so, be sure you aren’t pulling on it all the way around. You want to give and take as you need it with that bit, not a constant pull. I would also consider slowing down, and getting her soft again at whatever speed it takes then build the speed back up.
My horse turns great to the left, sets up real nice coming in, digs in and powers out of turns 2 & 3. But on turn one, he starts off good, but falls out of the turn about half way around and has a hard time staying bent around the barrel. It’s almost as if he is afraid to use his right hip. I had a friend watch him work and she told me he is not extending his right rear leg as far forward as the left. Any suggestions for helping him move better and stay round in the turn?
Head straight to a horse vet. They can help and make huge improvements. He might just need his hocks injected and the shortness is from him “holding” himself from the discomfort.
My 15 year old quarter horse and I have been doing barrels for half a year, but I feel we havent made any major progress. He cuts to close to the barrel. To slow him down and prepare him for the barrel, i sit back and start to gently pull on the rein Im turning him on, but turning him is a mess. He cuts, so I try to push him off with my inside leg, but that doesnt work either. My trainer suggested preparing him by just sitting back and coming farther of the barrel than the usual rider and then turning him without the inside leg pressure… am i doing it completely wrong? He gets more flueint, but it really eats up time cause my turns are so large…Help!
Did you try to do what Fallon Taylor showed in her video? It was great advise.
My daughter has a great horse with great turns and 1D times. This season she has consistently knocked second barrel coming out….the horse hits it with his hip. Any suggestions? She can’t seem to get this worked out and she is getting frustrated and discouraged.
It is possible she is rushing the turn and looking up too soon. She could try sitting one stride longer before she looks to leave. There are quite a few things to try, but this came to find first.
I have a 5yr old gelding which has always lugged on the bit at his first drum. I have tried many different bits which made no difference. Now when we get to the first drum and I pick up the rein he refuses to turn the drum and runs up the fence rearing and carrying on. I have tryed just about everything even different riders. Have you suggestions.
Have you had his teeth done or seen an equine chiropractor or vet?
Do you travel and do clinics? Would love to have you come visit us in Idaho
This is Michelle with Free Barrel Racing Tips here. You will have to contact Fallon at Dynasty Equine .com to check with her on that.
I have a 5yr old prospect with plenty of slow barrel training on him. I am now loping the pattern, but he seems to swap hind leads on each turn, and then swaps the front also as he heads for the next barrel. He has just seen a vet, and has no signs of any lameness whatsoever. Do you have any drills or tips that may help this issue?
Good for you for taking your horse to the vet first! Since you have that ruled out I would do some drills and exercises to help strengthen the muscles he needs to turn. One drill I love is the circle tires drill. It can be seen on http://www.barrelracingdrills.com but what it is, is 5 or 6 tires set out in a big circle (say 60feet across). You would circle the big circle then approach and turn a perfect circle around each tire. To start you might turn every second or third tire, but eventually he will be able to turn each one, one after another. Do both directions equally. You can start at a walk, then a trot, then a lope. Good luck!
Hi, Do you have anymore drills that will help me with my horses shouldering into his second barrel problem? And how do I teach my horse to counter-arch?
Here is a really good video with Kay Blandford that demonstrates the counter arc really well. You might want to check out http://www.barrelracingdrills.com where there are lots of drills for shouldering.
Okay. So my barrel horse has been shaking her head around the barrels. Like noticeably bad. It affects our whole run. I have had her teeth done and everything. I run her in a twisted wire gag bit with no tie down. Someone has suggested a flat chain bit. Has anyone tried that? I can’t seem to find any with a short shank though. Help?! Thanks
I would expect your horse will do the same thing no matter what the bit. If this was me, I would put the horse in a snaffle and head back to the round pen for a while where she would learn to accept the bridle and give to the pressure. (The reins would be tied back to the saddle and he would find his own release when he gives to the bit). I ride a horse is a chain bit and like it. Not saying that will fix your horses resistance issues but sometimes a change is good too.