One of the most asked questions at Josey Ranch Clinics regards how much practice a rider should do on barrels with their horse. While the answer to this can vary depending on each individual horse,  being efficient and not over working your horse on barrels is extremely important.

    If you are having a problem on a specific barrel every run and the other two barrels are perfect, the best way to address an individual barrel problem is to "spot work" your horse. Let's say your horse is having an issue with the second barrel, but your first has been great every run. You do not want to punish your horse that turns a good first barrel by making them turn it at a fast pace, time and time again, during practice while trying to fix second. The best way to make your work efficient is to walk around the first barrel then trot or lope to your second and focus on correcting the mistake. After you work on the second barrel return to a walk and go on to your third barrel.

    Sometimes you may focus on two barrels during your spot work and only walk around one. The reason why doing this is important is because it can help keep your horse from creating a bad habit on the barrels that they are doing well. In addition, it keeps them from getting hyper while helping them understand that a good turn will be rewarded.

  Over working your horse by loping or running the pattern over and over will eventually cause problems, but you can never walk the pattern too much!

Spot Work