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          Common Barrel Problems and Fixes

By Joe Farmer

‚ÄčAs a young boy, I was surrounded by a family of barrel racers. Among my father and sister, there were a host of family friends always spending our weekends at local horse shows. I started out at age 3 doing walk-trot and then advancing to pee wee barrels. 

It has been in my experience over the years there are some common problems with running the barrel pattern ranging from over shooting the barrel to diving on the barrel to horses stiffening up and not turning.

Some remedies I have come up with to resolve these issues after ruling out physical pain (teeth, chiropractic, etc.) are, first of all do some basic drills before doing pattern work, such as working on crossing over in the front end. I always want my horse to extend their outside leg over in front of the inside leg, keeping their weight and power on their inside hock and always continuing to drive forward. I want my horse to listen to verbal cues, also by my weight and body position. I also want them to stop on a loose rein and keep them soft laterally.

I do the basic warm ups, long trotting, loping circles, roll backs, keeping them stopping on a loose rein, lateral flexion and once they are sharpened up, I then move on to the pattern.