When working with your horse to improve his training and fitness, it's important to work specifically on areas that need some help. By targeting your training, you can accomplish several different goals:
1) When using your Hylofit equine heart rate monitor during training, you can monitor progress over time. For example, if you practice the drills we're about to show you each week for a month, track each ride with Hylofit to monitor any improvements based on your horse's heart rate. Is he recovering faster? Was his working heart rate much higher before due to anxiety over not understanding the question? Your Hylofit data will help answer these questions and more.
2) Targeting training helps your horse improve his overall fitness. While it is definitely possible to "over train" something, repetition also creates muscle memory and habit. In addition, by helping your horse strengthen a specific area — lifting his shoulder, for example — you'll increase his overall level of performance.
We've teamed up with Team Hylofit rider and professional barrel racer Renae Cowley for some tried and true exercises geared at perfecting a barrel horse's footwork and suppleness.
Drill 1: Log Work
Redi has all the buttons of a finished barrel horse, he just needs to be legged up after a year off. Lots of long trotting, lots of flexing on a loose rein with his shoulders stood up, and keeping him responsible for his foot fall by going over logs will get him #RodeoRedi in no time!
Drill 2: Picking Up the Shoulder
Stryker and I are doing my favorite drill to fix a horse who drops their shoulder into the turn. Keeping their nose into the barrel and shoulder stood up, do a counter arch circle at the pocket point. Maintain that body position and let them move forward around the barrel. Check out my YouTube channel for more detail in this drill and a whole lot of Other helpful drills.
Drill 3: The Spiral
Nike and I are working on the spiral drill, corkscrewing closer and farther from the barrel. This helps him learn to move in and out id the barrel while keeping that perfect moon shape in his body.
Check out Renae's YouTube channel for more detail in this drill and a whole lot more.