It’s Ok To Be Square

    Starting the turn too soon is a common problem In Barrel racing. When a horse begins to anticipate the turns or starts to drop the shoulder it's important that a rider recognizes what is happening and corrects it prior to a habit forming.

    Many times it is the rider signaling the horse to start the turn unknowingly. If a rider leans, pulls a horses head away from the barrel or crosses over the horses neck with the inside rein hand  the rider has allowed the horse to drop its shoulder and cut into the barrel.


Making sure you and your horse have made it to the correct position prior to starting the turn is important. Until you reach the correct spot your body positioning and hands are key. Your weight should be even in your stirrups with everything square. As you approach the barrel your hands should be low as well as shoulder width apart. The higher your hands get the less control you have. Riding square until your legs is even with the barrel especially on second and

third barrel will help you and your horse have better, faster turns. The key is to ride deep enough into the turn. Riders will make a habit of popping out away from the barrel to give room which costs more time and leads to hit barrels.

While a bit will not fix a riders hands, finding the right bit will help you when it comes to your horses style. If you have a horse that really wants to turn, is very bendy or leans on you some a Josey/Mitchell Mullen mouth Lifter short shank bit is a great too to try. The Mullen mouth is great at helping keep your horse square into the turns.