by: Lyndee Stairs, Jan. 2012
After many successful years barrel racing, I have found that the basics — loping perfect circles, exercising speed control, stopping softly without pulling, changing leads and backing up properly — cannot be overlooked.
Backing up properly is extremely important. When doing so, your horse will be in the bridle responding to light pressure and will be loose and relaxed in the hip.
If fading in, aka slicing, stepping in, or shouldering a barrel is your problem here are some suggestions. At the first barrel; check where you are lining up. In a large pattern I would line up halfway between the first and the third barrels. On a small pattern, I would line up even with the third barrel.
If you are lining up correctly but, your horse is still slicing the barrel, do the following exercise: line up where I explained and coast your horse in a straight line to the line between the first and second barrels, stop him, back him up and pivot away from the first barrel, go back to the place where you would start your run from and do it again. Do this exercise until your horse has stopped leaning on you towards the first barrel. You can also adapt this exercise to any barrel in the pattern. Just ride up to the side of the barrel and pivot away and go back to the last barrel you were at, or the start, and do it again until he stops leaning.
by: Lyndee Stairs, Sept., 2011
When running barrels, you want to be sitting in the middle of your horse. Do not lean into the barrel.
You want your legs to hang straight down. Feet deep in the stirrup. Ride with your thighs and knees gripping your horse. This keeps your body close to the horse at all times.
When approaching the barrel, you want to be up and slightly forward on your horse. As you get closer to the barrel, sit down ( sit deep, sit on your pockets) this helps your horse to prepare for the turn, and stay in the saddle until you have finished the turn.
Once the turn is finished, get up out of the saddle and hustle your horse to the next barrel.