My last post was about starting a barrel horse covering just the basic work on your horse's lead changing and the ability to lope a correct circle.
Now, let's say your horse has a pretty good grasp of the basics and now it's time to show them the pattern.
First, start off by just walking your horse on the pattern a few times, maybe 4 or 5 times. Then, you can start with showing your horse when to rate. How we are going to do this is pretty simple.
You want to walk all the way up to your first barrel pocket; if you are not sure what your pocket is, it is the space left of your barrel before you make your turn. When you get there, stop and back your horse up approximately 2 or 3 steps. Then when you release your horse, wait until they are completely calm to walk them on around the barrel. Do this step with each of your barrels about 2 or 4 times and then end their work for the day.
You do not want to do this drill any faster the first week or you will risk overwhelming your horse on the pattern!
The next week when you trot it, do so just at your rate drill. And the week after that, go ahead and lope it doing your rate drill. When you feel like your horse is ready and is stopping and backing up mostly on its on own then trot through the pattern without doing the rate drill. If your horse wants to stop at the pocket that is great! However, if your horse wants to just keep trotting and not wanting to rate then repeat the drill a couple more times.
Thank you for reading. Stay tuned for your next steps in training a barrel horse.
Photo courtesy of Flickr.