Horse dropping shoulder

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Bigfoot
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Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Tue May 05, 2015 1:43 pm

My daughter (10 years old), has decided that she would like to train a barrel horse this summer to sell (or keep if it's faster than hers). Its a grade horse, 7 or 8 years old. Little heavy on the thoroughbred. Broke the best, by whoever had it before her, but only ridden on trails etc. The thing is dropping his left shoulder on 2 and 3. My normal fix----------to keep a horse up would be block his shoulder with my leg, and push up. Maybe a little outside reign to. She's kinda gimpy, even for 10 years old. This thing is 16 hands tall, and to strong for her block. He's not carrying the bit, and doing what he wants, he's just leaning left turns. I can tell, its going to get worse, the more she rides him. What bit you guys think would pick him up in the front end on turns. He's in a junior cow horse now. He stays up, working him on a fence in it, He tries to lay down at speed.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Alan » Tue May 05, 2015 9:18 pm

Wow! What a big time question, I know what you are referring to as "dropping the shoulder in the turns", on 2 and 3. If I'm correct, what's your thoughts on working the horse on turns so the shoulder he drops has to be on the outside of the turn and basically forced to be the upper shoulder and that shoulder has to stay up? Just a guess.... Kinda, been walking through the motions with horse training too long...... Your thoughts?
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Tue May 05, 2015 9:44 pm

Alan wrote:Wow! What a big time question, I know what you are referring to as "dropping the shoulder in the turns", on 2 and 3. If I'm correct, what's your thoughts on working the horse on turns so the shoulder he drops has to be on the outside of the turn and basically forced to be the upper shoulder and that shoulder has to stay up? Just a guess.... Kinda, been walking through the motions with horse training too long...... Your thoughts?


"Usually" a horse that goes to the left barrel first, has some issues. Not always, but usually. Since she would like to sell it, she'd rather not go left first. I really don't know a lot about a barrel horse. I can help her tune up his handle, but that won't make it fast in the turns.

My philosophy is soft hands, and aggressive feet. She's just not stout enough to use her hooks for much in the line of leg pressure.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby branguscowgirl » Tue May 05, 2015 11:41 pm

BF my sister ran PRCA for many years and trained a lot of nice barrel horses. I always rode her hand me downs, after they were good and broke. So I am not the trainer in the family, she is.

I know a mild gag bit is popular with barrel racers, and I do have a bit that she had bought for me, that she loved. I will try and get a picture of it tomorrow for you. Great bit to elevate the shoulder.

She always had me do a lot of slow work, lifting the shoulder with the inside rein and moving the inside rib cage over at the same time. Perfecting the exercise at the walk, then the trot before adding speed. They have to get so light that you can pick up that inside rein to elevate the shoulder at any speed. If they fail as you add speed, you have to back up again in you training. Lots and lots of slow circles, picking up and moving over.

I am sure there are some awesome videos on this. These exercises are used for all disciplines whether it's cutting, reining ect.. So you should find a lot of info.
Last edited by branguscowgirl on Wed May 06, 2015 1:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Ojp6 » Tue May 05, 2015 11:55 pm

I think somebody who can really take control of him should probably get on him for a couple rides. It would probably be good to really pick up his head coming into the barrels you're having trouble with and keep him a little wide so he can't dive at the barrel and then when you bring his head to the inside hit him with some inside leg so he doesn't just drop down and hit the barrel. If you can get her to hold him up so he can't dive at the barrel he shouldn't drop it as bad. Barrel racers always want you to have a pocket coming into the barrel and then really come around close on the way out. They say if you make a horse stay away from the barrel coming in and don't let him get right next to it until they are leaving they can't dive and drop their shoulder because you are keeping them up with your hands and your feet.

I'm not going to pretend I'm a barrel racer or that I really know what I'm talking about but I had little sisters that thought they were going to be barrel racers for a while and I had to take them to a clinic or too. So don't take what I'm saying to be the correct answer.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby branguscowgirl » Wed May 06, 2015 2:55 pm

Here is the bit that worked well on our barrel horses and cow horses to pick up their shoulder. There is lots of flex to it to give subtle direction. It rotates to come up in the mouth when lifting and puts just a little pressure on the poll when stopping. But getting bend in the inside rib cage is essential to get them up also.
[url][URLImage[/url][/url]
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Thu May 07, 2015 11:12 pm

branguscowgirl wrote:Here is the bit that worked well on our barrel horses and cow horses to pick up their shoulder. There is lots of flex to it to give subtle direction. It rotates to come up in the mouth when lifting and puts just a little pressure on the poll when stopping. But getting bend in the inside rib cage is essential to get them up also.
[url][URLImage[/url][/url]


That's an intresting bit. Almost looks like I could make one out of a wonder bit. What name does it go by?
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Thu May 07, 2015 11:22 pm

Ojp6 wrote:I think somebody who can really take control of him should probably get on him for a couple rides. It would probably be good to really pick up his head coming into the barrels you're having trouble with and keep him a little wide so he can't dive at the barrel and then when you bring his head to the inside hit him with some inside leg so he doesn't just drop down and hit the barrel. If you can get her to hold him up so he can't dive at the barrel he shouldn't drop it as bad. Barrel racers always want you to have a pocket coming into the barrel and then really come around close on the way out. They say if you make a horse stay away from the barrel coming in and don't let him get right next to it until they are leaving they can't dive and drop their shoulder because you are keeping them up with your hands and your feet.

I'm not going to pretend I'm a barrel racer or that I really know what I'm talking about but I had little sisters that thought they were going to be barrel racers for a while and I had to take them to a clinic or too. So don't take what I'm saying to be the correct answer.


I'm considering getting one of the young ladies coming home from college this week to ride him for a week. Problem is, he's not a finished horse. He's actually not really even started. He has picked up a bad habit of laying down to turn.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby branguscowgirl » Fri May 08, 2015 1:08 am

I will ask my sister, but I really don't know if it has a specific name. Other than a mild gag bit.
Sounds like taking him back to the basics with lots of slow work in a snaffle is what he might need.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Fri May 08, 2015 12:52 pm

I don't think that bit is off the shelf anywhere. I called myself looking on the internet pretty extensivly. It's got a chain, where I would expect to see a dog bone. Cant find anything exactly like it. It doesn't show signs of a back yard build either. my dad suggested a mullen, with a little slide. Neither bit do have in my tack shed though.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby cow pollinater » Fri May 08, 2015 2:44 pm

I don't know anything about barrel horses but I would stop him on barrels and have her get a really good handle on him. Slow things down and do some reining work where ALL directions come from her so he learns to pay attention to her and not the pattern. Have her run a few patterns without any barrels and then pull him out of a few turns and go the other way or stop hard so that he learns to be ready to switch directions(which requires him to stay up and pay attention to her) and then slowly put him back on barrels. As soon as he drops his shoulder start over again.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby Bigfoot » Fri May 08, 2015 3:41 pm

cow pollinater wrote:I don't know anything about barrel horses but I would stop him on barrels and have her get a really good handle on him. Slow things down and do some reining work where ALL directions come from her so he learns to pay attention to her and not the pattern. Have her run a few patterns without any barrels and then pull him out of a few turns and go the other way or stop hard so that he learns to be ready to switch directions(which requires him to stay up and pay attention to her) and then slowly put him back on barrels. As soon as he drops his shoulder start over again.


Excellent advice. Thanks
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby chippie » Fri May 08, 2015 7:18 pm

cow pollinater has the best advice of all.
I do know that it is something that you can not fix by changing a bit. I have seen Connie Combs give clinics and our daughter has been to them.

Here is an exercise that should help.

http://www.conniecombs.com/DrilloftheMonth%5B1%5D.pdf
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby milkmaid » Fri May 08, 2015 8:16 pm

Those of us who are good riders can temporarily hide the problem as you described in the first post - unfortunately, that doesn't fix the problem for the next owner. CP has great advice; you can't make the horse do something in the barrel pattern he's incapable (physical ability or training) of doing during general riding.

I spent a month at an equine clinic recently and saw quite a few horses brought in for bitting problems and bit evaluations - and not a one was a horse problem. They were all rider problems.

That said, you may find that this horse has difficulty staying balanced in a circle one direction because of bone, joint, or muscle problems - or a lack of muscle conditioning. A lameness evaluation to rule out physical problems may be the best start, and if he doesn't have an excuse for this, then a lot of quality trot and canter work in both directions and good riding to develop equal muscle condition and teach him how to stay balanced.
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Re: Horse dropping shoulder

Postby chippie » Sat May 09, 2015 5:18 am

another thing is he may need a chiropractor. Little things can be an indication that something is out.
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