Mastering the Basics Can Help Improve Your Barrel Time!
By: Triple Crown Insider- Amanda Russell
Have you ever placed second at a barrel race, to only lose by one-hundredth of a second? How did that happen? Was it because of the ground? The winner’s warm-up routine? You may never know.
Diagonals aren’t just for the English discipline. They are a great tool to use in the barrel racing world. When trotting, you should be riding on the outside diagonal, meaning you sit as the horse’s outside shoulder comes back and the inside hind leg hits the ground. When the outside shoulder moves forward, you go up. When the outside shoulder goes back, you go down. Riding on the outside diagonal helps your horse build up muscles equally on both sides of its body.
Diagonals also help you become a more balanced rider. You can practice riding on the outside diagonal whether you are trotting circles in an arena or riding in a straight line out in a field. When trotting in a straight line, you can trot 50 steps on one diagonal, then stand up for a beat, and trot 50 steps on the other diagonal.
In barrel racing, riding on the outside diagonal helps your horse keep their shoulder up around the barrels. When practicing slow work on the barrels or just doing slow work on different drills, you can practice riding on the outside diagonal. This will help your horse when you add speed to keep its shoulder up and get around the barrel.
Learning to ride on the correct diagonals can help you shave off the slightest bit of time you need to win. It improves the balance of you and your horse and will make you a better rider!