Summer barrel racing is in full swing. You just bought a new horse. However, he does not seem to be running as good for you as the previous owner. What now? Is this just bad Karma? 

Well, first take a look at what is different in your horse’s life.

Has his equipment been changed? I have seen something as simple as a horse that was used to a fleece cinch and now you have a neoprene one on him bother him enough to make a difference in his attitude. I have also had horses that seemed allergic to a wool pad and really liked fleece against their back. Is his saddle causing him pain? And of course, what about the bit?  When you get a new horse, or for that matter, after yours comes home from the trainer, try to purchase the same bit he was working well in. 

Have you changed his feed or his exercise program?   Maybe you are feeding him to much and exercising him to little. Maybe, he is not getting enough energy, or too much, from his feed and does not feel like working. You need to have a balance. Again, try to find out what the previous owner did.

Is your horse sore? Make sure the saddle is not hurting him and causing him back pain.  Do his teeth need to be looked at by the equine dentist? Sharp teeth and wolf teeth can cause lots of pain.  I would also have my vet evaluate him for lameness. Have you changed horse shoers? Is he being shod differently? Since your new horse has moved locations, maybe he has acquired an allergy to something. Ask your vet, there are some relatively cheap allergy tests out there.I have also had lots of luck using and equine chiropractor to fix back soreness. You should look into all of these things. 

Am I riding him differently than his last owner? If it is possible, go and ride with the previous owner. Take a lesson. If you can’t get a lesson from the previous owner, try another professional barrel racer. Maybe, you have not competed on a horse of this caliber horse before and you need to learn how to cue him. Ask the previous owner to watch some of your videos on this horse or maybe even come to a barrel race to watch you. They may just be able to tell you what you are doing different or wrong. 

If you have gone through all of these check points to no avail, go back to basics. Do slow work on and off the barrels. If you and this new horse can’t do it perfectly at the walk and trot. Then you sure can’t do things perfect at speed.  And please ride outside of the arena and think of different things to do there also. This will prevent boredom. If he was a good or 1D barrel horse before, I am sure you can figure this out  and work through your problems. I believe a good horse does not just wake up one day and decide to be bad. Something is bothering him. And since they can’t talk, you will have to find out what is bothering him.  

Happy barrel racing and see you at the pay window.

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