1) You need to know what the horse knows. If possible, have the trainer and/or former owner show you what that horse has learned. This will help you decide what you need to focus on and in what areas your horse needs additional work.

2) Do lots of slow work, like walking and trotting, and short lope circles. I like to speed my horse up and slow him down into big and small circles. I also work on stopping, standing still, backing, etc. Working in different speeds and teaching a horse to stand helps teach him to be calm and quiet. He won’t just want to run all the time and not pay attention to you.

3) When working the pattern, exaggerate your turns and give your horse plenty of room. I like to work approximately three feet all the way around the barrel. Remember to look at where you want your horse to go and don’t look down at the barrel.

4) Finally, when hauling your young horse to a barrel race, try to be early so you can ride him in the new surroundings, and also try to get into a few exhibitions. Take your horse around the arena at a trot first to allow him to see his surroundings. You can ask him to speed up when you feel he is ready.

Remember, the more you haul your horse, the better he will get. If you have patience and enjoy your young horse, you will soon be looking back with amazement at how far he’s come.


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