Patterns for the Weekend: Funnel Patterns for Your Barrel Horse

These exercises are great ways to keep your barrel horse loose and supple without overworking the barrel pattern.

This article was adapted from this blog by Kenda Sagers.

When you’re training and riding barrel horses, it can be hard to find ways to work them around barrels without overworking the pattern. These exercises can help to keep your barrel horse (or other performance horse) supple and help you focus on your turns and speed control.

These drills can be done with barrels, cones, or tires for markers. To work the patterns at a trot or canter, you’ll want to set up the funnel as follows:

  • Widest markers 80′ apart
  • Middle markers 60′ apart
  • Shortest markers at 40′ apart

Left or Right Turn

You can work this pattern in either direction, and it can be worked at a walk, trot, or slow canter. Remember that you should always start slow and gradually speed up. Only work this pattern at speeds where YOU are completely in control and able to maintain your horse’s body shape. The goal is to keep your circles around the barrels smooth and even.

Figure Eights

This pattern will simulate working between two barrels and should be worked at a walk and trot. The goal is to maintain control, shape, and distance (in this and all patterns). If you and your horse are advanced, you can work it at a canter, but remember to maintain shape, control, and speed. The pattern pattern can be worked from either direction and from either end.

Left then Right

This pattern works your horse in both directions and will help keep your horse listening to you while working on your turns. Work the pattern at the walk and trot.

Zig Zag

This pattern can help you to keep control of your horse and to keep him guessing and waiting for your cue. It should be worked at a walk, tort, or canter, but make sure you are in control and allow your horse plenty of room. The goal is to maintain control, shape, and distance from the markers.

Have a great weekend, Horse Nation. Go riding!