Horse Life

Double Barrel Challenge

Barrels have always given me the heebie jeebies. I never gave them a single thought until at one of our failed BN moveups, one of the stadium jumps had a barrel underneath and P refused it over a dozen times. And since the actual stadium course had a jump with a barrel underneath, I scratched the competition. I think this was back in November ’16.

Then after auditing a Clayton Fredericks clinic, I brought one out to see what P would do.



And then promptly never did another thing with it.

Until we got to Trainer B’s a few weeks ago and he’s all, “Go warmup over those barrels.”

And somehow to my utter surprise, he jumped it the first time.



P says, “Not so fast.”

Then last week, Trainer B hopped aboard. He also used the barrels as a warmup…



So then I left for Kentucky for 4 days.

Monday I went out to get his Always-Emotional-After-Vacation-Ride (AEAVR) in. If P has more than 2 days off, one those is needed. During an AEAVR, you simply need to get on and put him through w/t/c for a short period of time to remind him that he is, in fact, still a riding horse. Sometimes the rides have to be as short as 5 minutes, sometimes you can eek out 10 or 15.  You don’t EVER expect to have a good ride, you just don’t.

P during an AEAVR

He was fairly quiet when I got on, though stiff and unwilling to soften, which is totally fine for an AEAVR. I worked a bit at the canter, trying to remember how to get the half halt I worked on with Trainer B the week before. At first it took 12 strides to get it, by the end he was consistently coming back in 6. I’ll take it.

Tuesday I rolled out the barrels. They’re a bit different than Trainer B’s in that they’re blue, not black, but same size and shape, and P spooked at them, so I figured I was on the right track. I took my spurs off, grabbed my crop, and mentally readied myself for battle.

After warming up, I put him right into the canter. Coming around the turn, I half-halted him, sent him forward and before I knew it, we were on the other side of the jump.



I mean…he didn’t even take a flier, which is usually what happens when he jumps a weird looking jump for the first time. We did it a few more times, then I hopped off and put a pole over to make it 2’7″ and spread the barrels out. So now it was bigger AND looked different. P hates when jumps change shape.

He’s sorta useless as jump crew.



Taking a mental picture

So I clambered back on, warned myself not to expect him to jump this just because he did the last time, and came around again.



We came around again a couple more times, but it was clear that he was jumping it just fine. So…that ride got to be super short because that was literally my only objective for the day.

P will get hacked out today, then jumped tomorrow. I set up a fun course consisting of a one stride to a bending 5, and a 4 stride gate to funky-looking oxer, with a couple of single jumps around the arena, plus the barrels (muahaha). Friday he’ll have off, since I have a fundraiser to go to, and then Saturday we’re heading to Trainer B’s.

It’s in the 80’s and sunny here finally (guess we’re just going to skip spring and go right to summer), so perfect riding weather here this week!

18 thoughts on “Double Barrel Challenge”

  1. I’m starting to think my horse when given 2 days or more off thinks he no longer is a riding horse anymore haha I may need to use your acronym. Great job on the barrels!


  2. Lol I’m just going to point out that it took multiple attempts and quite a few minutes to get this post to load on my phone with all the gifs lol, but I was committed to leaving this comment bc YAY P! Way to conquer the barrels!


    1. Bahahah I admire your commitment! And also that you can read posts on your phone. I always do my reading on my computer- the mobile apps make things look weird for me 😬


      1. Oh ughhh, yeah, I would totally need to pass the time also. I wish I could commute by train, though not for multiple hourse 🙂 It might help with my never-ending road rage!


  3. ha ha ha ha i am afraid of barrels. Always have been. Things that roll you should not have to jump LOL. But yay P. And don’t you just wait for the other shoe to drop? I do. I think P is very smart and may be planning stuff out. 🙂 And yes no spring for us either. 88 this week. WTF


  4. We generally have an emotion-filled ride after a bit off as well. The trick with Scarlet is it is generally not the first ride, it is the second ride. I come out all prepared to fight and he is super nice and simple. The next ride, I’m not prepared and he gets to have his little fit.

    I’m glad that P worked just fine over the jumps. Yay for steady improvement!


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