Did some barrel work, wlak and trot. critique *videos*
Ok, today I decided I was going to barrel race Red!
Ok obviously I didnt exactly barrel race so much as work around 3 barrels doing the cloverleaf, doing a round about with them, basically just workaround around barrels, using them as obsticals WHILE making sure I was doing stuff I needed to do, keeping my elbows back, more contact, trying to sit deeper in my seat, not post of my legs (that one still needs alot more work!) I did keep my stirrups vs going without them, next time I plan on trying a little bit of no stirrupless and see how that goes.
Overall I think it went well and I think Red responded well to what I was asking. I did have an OMG moment when I noticed my, horse/small dog/small animal in general/any animal that moves aggressive unless he knows them, dog got loose off the high line. Got Red to face him even though he was showing No intrest in targeting her, Gave him the look and said "Lay DOWN" and down he went with the "Im a good boy look and wag" Got him secured to the post on the barn with Red staying put with a simple command (So proud of her for that) then going to the middle of my barrel ring and have her come to me by command. That made my day seeing how well she behaved while I dealt with Sirrus.
So I have 3 videos for you all to see, the first is the main video with me working the barrels. The second is the best walk and trot snippets I could find and the third is me dealing with my escapee while still on Red.
I think barrel exercises are fun - I've done some in the winter when we are stuck indoors. On my mare who died at the end of last year we had worked up to cantering parts of it, and she enjoyed the exercise.
I think you could ask her to walk more briskly - for example on the lines between the barrels ask her to walk out with a big swinging stride - the way a horse walks when they are heading in to get their dinner. Then as you approach the barrel slow down again (to your current pace), then speed up on the next straightaway.
You can develop that at the trot, too.
Also useful is thinking of approaching the barrel, aiming about six or eight feet out to the left or right of it (depending on which side you are coming in on), but then as you go around and "exit" into the next straight line you get right in close to the barrel, almost close enough to touch it. As you are coming off the barrel and exiting the circle start asking for the faster walk (or trot), and it helps build the horse's use of the hindquarters. If that makes sense.
ETA: it's good to do what you are doing and not go around the barrels the same way over and over, as it gets boring for the horse (and rider!) and they start ignoring you and just doing it by memory, or when you add speed they start anticipating. I saw a video once of a barrel horse in a competition whose rider fell off at the first barrel. The horse finished the whole pattern alone and ran out the exit gate!!!
Your ultimate goal in barrels is to lengthen and accelerate in between the barrels and sit back and collect around them - so that is how you want to practice, at any gait. Mixing up the pattern is excellent (I do many more figure-eights schooling than I do cloverleafs (cloverleaves?)), as is making the horse stand and be calm in the middle of the work (albeit in an unplanned sort of way! ).
Gymkhana horses can get VERY hot and single-minded. I have the sanest horse on earth, and he had (before retiring from such things) a tendency to get nutty at games shows - and that's WITH plenty of "this is how you behave nicely around barrels" training. We also had a fall around a barrel once, after which he jumped up and finished the pattern - before trotting back over to me as if to say, "Sorry you didn't make it, Mom, but I did a good job!" (No worries - we were both OK.) So, if you get one who likes the job, it can be quite a ride!