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Make a Complete Stop After a Barrel Run

Champion barrel racer Marlene McRae advises how to stop your horse after a barrel racing finish.

August 8, 2007

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Barrel Run

Q. My barrel horse will not stop completely or turn after I pass the finish line. What can I do about this?

A.  You have to practice just like you want you horse to be at a competition. I like to circle off to one corner of the arena if the gate is closed. If it is a center alley, some horses will gather speed at the mouth of the alley. Do not pull straight back and never try to stop with one hand on the reins. Instead, ride with two hands and always see-saw your reins when stopping. Take a deep breath and sit deep in your saddle; this will relax your horse and help you stop. At times, I have had horses run off in the alley because of soundness problems, too, so make certain your horse is sound by having a well-qualified equine veterinarian examine him.

Remember, the race is over at this point, so relax and take your time stopping.

Liked this article? Here's more barrel racing advice:
Controlling the Barrel Horse
Barrel Racing Troubleshooter

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Make a Complete Stop After a Barrel Run

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Reader Comments

Deanna    Bedford, PA

9/19/2012 11:45:18 PM

Is this barrel racing tips going to be in next months magazines or are they just for on here? I would very much love to have these questions while getting back into barrel racing.

victor villarreal    fairfield Tx, TX

8/31/2012 7:48:25 PM

I totally agree but you can also use the arena fence to stop your horse. Practise at home on stoping with the fence and if your having trouble with stopping your horse how much control do you really have? So, I've always been told to never see-saw the reins when trying to get a full stop but to first ask for a regular stop and enforce by bending to a stop or applying more preasure to one rein and less to the other. Does the see-sawing action help to ask the horse to slow down into a stop or how does it help benifit the horse to eventually learn to stop when asked?
Sam, St. Joseph, MO

Lauren    Phoenix, AZ

6/22/2009 8:13:33 AM

Seesawing reins isn't the answer to stopping on a regular basis. That's a crisis situation. Train your horse to stop appropriately. Stopping is part of riding and seesawing is a lack of training from the rider.

tiffany    none, KY

4/7/2008 7:54:27 PM

you should also make sure your giving your horse the right comand and make sure she knows what your asking her

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