Master the Second Barrel with Three Simple Steps for a Fluid, Fast Turn

Master the Second Barrel with Three Simple Steps for a Fluid, Fast Turn

A few months ago, I introduced the concept of RSPA or “rate/shape point anxiety” and it’s damaging effects.

I also shared a video post in which I walked through the process of acing the first barrel with my simple 3×3 Troubleshooting Plan.

The second barrel turn on the other hand, creates a challenge unlike any other, thus making it the most commonly tipped barrel.

This is in large part because we have the shortest distance between barrels and happen to be running straight into a wall – which often doesn’t have much real estate behind it, contributing to horse’s tendencies to “get short” and anticipate the turn.

There’s so much more to resolving this problem than “picking a horse’s shoulder up,” however. If you take the right steps, you can blast across the pen with speed and good timing to nail your second barrel without stutter steps, hesitation, dropping in, or all the other unpleasantries that are SO common.

As you’ll learn in the video below, anticipation at the second barrel can become a thing of the past, but only if we take two steps back to intelligently consider the problem as it’s source AND solve it in a complete, thorough, and multi-faceted way.

So often the key to problem solving is in isolating and separating the parts that make up the successful finished maneuver. We need to really understand what’s happening and where the weak spots are.

Once identified, we can take time to address these areas individually first and then put it all back together for a solution that lasts.

Click here for the printable 3×3 Troubleshooting Plan.

The resources, articles and videos listed below will prove helpful as well:

Now, I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, challenges and WINS regarding the second barrel.

What aspect of the turn has been difficult for you in the past?

What will you be doing differently from now on?

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6 replies
  1. Kristie Moore
    Kristie Moore says:

    Hi Heather… I have been working on the things we discussed in our one on one, I have also been watching your videos and reading and re-reading your book. I had a race last weekend and although I rode like a monkey my horse (Rooster) did NOT dive or anticipate any of the barrels but especially the 2nd one (as he usually does). We have been doing a lot of slow work and I have been working on keeping my body straight, not encouraging him!! Thanks for your tips…you keep giving them, I’ll keep reading/watching and putting them to good use!

  2. betajorio
    betajorio says:

    Hi, Heather! I would like to know how should we position our body at the rate point, during the turn and exiting the turn (shoulder, hands, midsection, legs, well, everything).I am trying to figure it out. I have always been using my body in the wrong position, causing my horse to do the same. Thank you

  3. Carrie Rowland
    Carrie Rowland says:

    hi Heather, I have an 11yr old mare that I started on the pattern last Yr,and I thought after our first show that she was really improving,but now she’s is back to I guess u call it lolling all over the arena instead of focusing on where she’s going. And it’s a fight all the way throughthe pattern. And when I finally do reach the barrel she’s stopping short and trying to turn. I will say she is very buddy dependant and I know that’s part of the problem, but I’m just stuck in this problem with her. And it’s only something she does at the arena Any Arena. I’m seriously considering racing blinkers.any advice would be appreciated greatly


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