The Importance of Basics
Think back when you were little or if you have kids think of them as they were growing up. Before they could stand they crawled around grabbing on to things and pulling them self up right to then plop back down on their bottom. Later on they started to take a few steps, most likely with the help of someone holding their hands. As time went on they learned to walk and once comfortable walking they ran. I use this analogy because just about everyone can relate to the basic stages that it takes for a child to run. Training a horse to any kind of event or discipline should be taken on the same way. A champion jumping horse can not get up and go jump 5 foot fences from day one. Barrel horses can not run a record time their first run. What ever discipline you choose to do requires basics.
When I say basics I really do mean the basics of breaking a horse. In order to ride a horse you must break or train it. What ever discipline you choose to do with your horse there are steps to getting them there. Before starting on the discipline you are hoping to do, your horse should be listening to you and doing basic skills such as side passing, leg yielding, stopping, backing up, neck reining (depending on your style of riding), walking, trotting, cantering, etc.. basically your horse should be able to do whatever you ask of him/her before you teach your horse an event.
When you have accomplished the basics of training then you can start to train your horse for the discipline of your choice. I chose barrel racing as what I would teach Scooter, one of my horses. When I got him he was green broke with only about 30 days of riding under him. I taught him the basics and then started barrel training. When you teach a horse a certain event you must make sure you don't rush the training. Slow and steady wins the race when training a horse. If I was to go out and run Scooter through the barrel pattern as my way of training him he would not know what I was asking him to do. It would be out of control and could potentially ruin any kind of future I wanted him to have with barrel racing. What I did with Scooter was I took him slow. I walked the pattern making sure everything was correctly executed and I walked it for a couple months. When I was confident that he understood. I added some speed and trotted the pattern. Doing this till I felt he was ready for some more speed. I kept on slowly adding more speed to his pattern. I was patient with him and helped guide him into learning the pattern. Click here for a more detailed view on how to train a barrel horse.
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