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Problem-specific Corrections

Jody from Idaho, writes:

Dear Sharon,

I have a mare that I've been working with on the barrels. She's pretty easy to ride, although, she's not a finished barrel horse. I've been working her in a light argentine snaffle. She seems pretty responsive to my cues, except, when I try to pick her up to move over when turning the 2nd and 3rd barrels, she doesn't bend as well to the left. I was wondering if either a Tender Touch bit or a Sweet Six iron wrap bit would be better.

Dear Jody,

First off, remember to ride to your spot. An effective barrel turn results, in part, from your approach from the last turn. It sounds like you are riding too tight into your turns and then trying to adjust your position by moving over. Remember to ride straight to your next pocket using a combination of direct and indirect rein contact to help direct your horse.

For consistent performance, you should be able to position your horse at any speed. Considering your challenges, you may want to go back to your training equipment and martingale (Reinsman Sweet Six #744 and Reinsman Cowboy German Martingale # 7762.) This would enable you to do some training and tune up at home at a variety of speeds.

Try cork screw exercises tapering down into smaller circles, then, maintaining the same direction, step slightly into the outside stirrup and pick up lightly on the inside rein, asking your horse to move back in the direction of the larger circle. This will help your horse learn to move off the inside rein. Side passing and lateral work, along with suppling ground work, will also help your horse learn to respond to leg and rein cues.

On a horse with these challenges, the bits I would suggest you try for competition would be the Touch Plus #732, Lite Lifter # 733 and the Ultra Correction #722. For easy ordering, please go to BarrelRacingSuperstore.com.

Ride safe and remember that training will help you in your competition challenges,

Sharon