How to Keep Your Barrel Racing Horse Calm Going to the Gate
by siteadmin | Thu, Jul 09, 2015
Many barrel racing horses get highly agitated as they approach the gate into the arena. This type of agitated behavior can also be seen on many racehorses. They are anticipating the fun and excitement, the “high” of running the pattern and racing home to the finish line. However, this agitation can become a dangerous propensity for rearing and after a time the horse may become so difficult that the horse and rider must be led into the arena. Not only is this behavior hazardous and unsafe, it is also difficult to sell a horse that acts in such an unruly manner.
It is important to stop this type of behavior long before it gets started. Here are some ideas that you might consider doing with your young barrel prospect.
1. Use the arena to work your horse in other stimulating exercises that keep him mentally and physically engaged. Don’t always just go to the arena just to run barrels.
2. Change up your barrel racing practice by just walking into the arena, trotting or loping around it, and then going on a trail ride one or two days a week.
3. If you are already having problems, walk your horse in circles by the entrance of the arena. Be sure to ride in a relaxed manner. Ride so that you continue circling closer and closer to the gate. If you need to ride with two hands to keep your horse more relaxed, then do so. Once the horse is relaxed, walk quietly into the ring. Be sure to stay grounded and quiet yourself as you do this so that your horse does not react to tension in your body. Once inside the arena, stand the horse in front of the barrels. Repeat this as many times as is necessary until your horse stands calmly. Then simply leave the arena. Repeat these steps until the horse can go through the gate and be in front of the barrels without getting upset and agitated. Only after the horse has learned to stay cool and collected should you begin running your pattern again. Remember, running the barrels is the reward for your horse. They become addicted to it; therefore, changing their routine and doing other things with your equine friend is a great way to keep him or her mentally and physically grounded.
4. Using the a RevitaVet pad over the poll area for 10 minutes on # 7 about an hour before showing, will generally calm a horse down dramatically, and in most cases, will remove the nervousness. This method is applied currently for Event horses, Dressage, Barrel Racing horses, and in Thoroughbred racing. Also a self contained PollCap works very well. See the link attached or go to the pollcap page on the RevitaVet website: http://www.revitavet.com/Pages/PollCap.html