No matter what form it shows up in, when a horse exhibits resistance, there is a separation occurring.
Any kind of resistance (subtle or extreme) creates a delay, and any delay will equal slower times on the clock.
Whether it be a wringing tail, shaking or tossing head, pushing against pressure, or just tension through the body, as long as the resistance is allowed to continue, there will be a disconnect, a disagreement between horse and rider.
When resistance occurs, our idea and the horse’s idea, are NOT the same idea!
If we look beyond the outward symptoms, we’ll find real reasons for our horse’s resistance. Until we commit to understanding the reasons, and providing a solution, this will prove to be a BIG road block in the way of progress on the pattern.
Rather than try to cover up the symptoms, let’s consider just a few reasons WHY a horse might show resistance, in the form of fighting at the first barrel.
They tend to show up in one of three categories – physical, mental or emotional…
1. Physical Problem – May not be obvious, but horse is physically uncomfortable
2. Lack of Education – Horse does not understand his responsibilities/what is expected
3. Lack of Leadership – Horse is not motivated to follow the rider’s suggestions
4. Lack of Communication – Horse is frustrated by rider’s lack of clear instructions
5. Too Much Repetition at Speed – Horse loses desire and/or becomes anxious
Only once we begin to consider and understand why our horse is resisting, can we develop a plan to troubleshoot the issue.
As you can imagine, there is no way to force or “make” the horse in the photo above stop resisting. We have to go about things in a way that causes a horse to want to work with us and for us, especially on the barrel pattern, and especially at SPEED!
The video below includes some interesting concepts and techniques (including a demonstration of a simple, yet valuable exercise) that can solve a wide variety of problems on the pattern.
In fact, it’s almost too simple!
But it’s surprising how many “advanced horses” struggle with doing simple things really well – which is often exactly where we must focus to take our barrel racing to a higher level.
Remember, a winning barrel horse is one that is comfortable and willing to what we ask.
Take it upon yourself to remove obstacles in your way (such as resistance), and you will be on the fast track to barrel racing success!
What do you think is the cause?
Let me know in the comments below!
If you enjoyed this Q&A, check out even more helpful posts to dissolve resistance…