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Utilizing the Training Pyramid
for Better Barrel Racing

The elements of the training pyramid are such that
for the horse and rider to advance to the next level,
they must demonstrate proficiency of the
previous level.

The Training Pyramid’s six building blocks parallel similarities necessary to complete efficient barrel racing performance. The building block graphic of the pyramid identifies the order in which these abilities are developed, from the bottom up.

The sport of barrel racing requires an equine athlete who has the collection skill set. The barrel horse often has missed training in the first four levels. Utilizing the pyramid is a way to improve the horse’s performance, reduce performance anxiety and increase the potential for success in the sport.

The elements of the pyramid are such that for the horse and rider to advance to the next level, they must have a clear understanding and a proficiency within the previous level. Below is a description of each level.

Rhythm and Forward

Regular footfalls.

Suppleness

Ability to identify flex and control of the body “zones” (neck, shoulder, rib, hip) laterally and longitudinally in a relaxed and controlled manner.

Contact

The horse’s acceptance of the bit and the rider’s hands. This includes the horse’s willingness to move forward into the bit, enabling the rider to connect
the haunches to the forehand.

Impulsion

Propulsion from the hindquarters to enable forward, lateral and
reverse movement.

Straightness

The ability to align the horse’s body on straight and curved lines for efficient, effective movement. Straightness requires attention by the rider, the application of the rider’s aids, seat, legs and hands, and the skills provided by the prior levels of the pyramid.

Collection

The horse learns to carry his body in an athletic manner with little reminder or support from the rider. Collection allows the rider to lengthen and shorten the horse’s stride, add and control speed, and provides the ability to consistently place the horse’s body in a balanced, athletic position for efficient movement.

For More Information

Please refer to Barrel Racing for Fun and Fast Times, the A.R.T. of Barrel Racing and Ask Sharon for more information for better barrel racing!

Also, be sure to check our Clinic Schedule for clinics near you where these concepts are applied in an intensive instructional environment. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals in the coming years!