“Hi, I’m Holly Heidemann and today on behalf of Expert Village we’re going to talk about the equipment involved with barrel racing. The number one piece of equipment that I have all the children and young riders put on is a helmet. Many people know about helmets because there are some people that I won’t mention names, but there are some people that have suffered falls and had some really serious injuries because of falling from a horse. A beginner rider, or a rider that’s inexperienced, or a young rider should definitely wear a helmet. As you advance, there are some people who choose not to wear them, that is a choice that’s up to you but I like all young riders and all inexperienced riders to make sure they wear a helmet.
A helmet does not protect you from everything; you still have to use really good common sense. The one thing you want to watch is you want to make sure that your footing in the arena is very good, that’s a safety feature. You want to make sure people have taken care of the ground. You want to make sure that you have, you know where the gate is if your horse is a free runner that you know where you’re going to be able to stop once you get out the gate.
There are many safety features involved; it all starts with the helmet. I ride with spurs. This is a pretty heavy set of spurs. You can have all different kinds of spurs. Spurs, a lot of people believe, are too aggressive and even abusive to a horse. Spurs are only abusive if the rider uses them that way. I like to use spurs as an extension of my leg. I’m very careful not to gouge a horse. It’s a touch and all it is, is to make things very light for your horse. You’re not kicking the air out of them; you’re just using that as an extension so they can feel all of your cues. This is a cavision. This has become one of my most favorite pieces of equipment. The reason why is it holds the horse’s mouth closed. If you’ve ever noticed when you pull on your horse and they go to open their mouth, you’re not getting any kind of control out of that. This creates them not being able to do that. So most of my horses when I’m doing my horsemanship which we’ll talk about in a moment, I like to use some kind of a ring snaffle or a D-ring snaffle, meaning it’s very close to the horse’s sides of their mouth where the contact comes with the reins.
And then the mouthpiece is either a two, or sometimes a three piece mouthpiece. The other thing I talked about with Bailey, when we were talking about his confirmation, is that he has a very short neck. Because he has a short neck, he has a tendency to elevate his head in his turns. Not to the point where he would be a runaway, or a problem, or anything like that, but it just doesn’t get me quite as snappy of a turn as I would like and so this is a piece of equipment called an over the poll tie down.
Again I’m a big fan for horses that have short necks, this really helps them. I don’t them in this all the time; I only run them in it. The reason why is it goes over their head, behind their ears, and over their eyes. And what that does, is when they elevate their head it puts pressure on it and brings it back down. A horse that gets used to this knows it’s there and Bailey will just kind of run and keep his head a little lower. He runs much more comfortably that way. If you were to work a horse in that piece of equipment all the time, it could make them sore over time and you don’t want that. So I, as soon as they know it’s there, I go ahead and take it off when I’m working them on a regular basis and then just go back to using it when I run them. As far as reins go, I like leather reins. One reason that they’re nice is that they feel really good in your hands. The other thing I like about them, I like these braided ones, because there’s a little bit of friction there like when you pull the reins through your hand it doesn’t pull through.
It’s a nice, nice set of reins. I like my reins fairly short. When you run, you’ll notice that when I go to work my horse in a few minutes. If your reins are not short when you go to take that turn around the barrel, what happens is you have to much flappage on the outside and they can just kind of fade away from it. So if you’re having a problem with that, shorten up your reins.
This is the other piece of equipment I use on my horse. These are called overreach boots. They’re a little dirty because I just ran this weekend in them, but you’ll notice these have a little bulb in the back, that just keeps those from turning around. It’s very uncomfortable, the horse’s leg would be like this – say this was to turn around – and they’d be trying to run with that against them. It’s really uncomfortable. So make sure you get a kind that have a bulb in it like this to try and keep them from turning it. It won’t work a hundred percent but it will help.. “}
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