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Event Calendar

 


Barrels of Fun

Train your speed horse to be calm, cool, collected and supple.



 

Your trainer for today: Dale Rudin of Young Rider Magazine

Do you love to ride your horse fast? If you ride in speed events like barrel racing and pole bending, you probably do! Itís fun to see how fast you and your horse or pony can zoom through a pattern and to see if youíre the quickest of the day.

However, galloping as fast as you can is not the most important part of riding speed events. Thereís a whole lot more to think about if you want your horse or pony to do well.

Your horse has to be a good listener, even though he might get really excited about running. If he doesnít hear what youíre telling him, he might blow past a barrel or pole. He also has to have a balanced body for making quick turns.

To get the best times, he also needs to be flexible and curve his body around the turns. A stiff horse will be unbalanced and have to slow down to make a tight turn. So if you want to be successful, itís necessary to have really good control of your horseís body and his mind.

Always start your training sessions with a few minutes of warm-up at the walk and trot. Do some flexing exercises to help your horse limber up. Ask him to flex his head and neck to the side while heís standing still. Then ask him to bend to the inside while heís walking a circle and do that same thing at the jog or slow trot.

Once heís loosened up, you can ask for some bending work at the walk. Flex your horseís head and neck in one direction by shortening your inside rein. Open your outside, or opposite, rein by bringing it away from your horseís neck.

Now, nudge your horse at the cinch with your inside leg. Thatís the same leg that your horseís head is bent toward. Just ask for a couple of steps when your horse is first learning this exercise and keep the circle heís on pretty big so he doesnít have to bend too tightly

Once he has figured out how to bend his body at the walk, try it at the trot. Bending is a terrific way to loosen and lighten up your horseís shoulders. That will help him keep him balance in tight turns.

When heís walking, jogging or loping around a barrel or pole, his body should bend around the turn. Teach your horse to bend correctly off the barrels or poles first.

Ride large and small circles at different gaits while asking your horse to bend from his head to his tail.

Keep your rein contact even. Just shorten your inside rein enough to ask your horse to follow the size of the curve your horse is circling or turning on.


 

 

 








 

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