Friday, January 5, 2018


The Triple Barrels, or Drums, are one of twenty-three obstacles used in the Ease of Handling phase of Working Equitation. It consists of three objects, most frequently 55 gallon drums but they could be any object tall enough to qualify, set between 10 and 13 feet apart. Yes, you read that correctly: 13 feet for Level 1 (Intro) to Level 5 (Intermediate B) and 10 ft apart for Advanced (L6) and Masters (L7). They are set up in a cloverleaf triangle, but the pattern through the three barrels is different from a barrel racing pattern.

The rider rides one of the blue loops first, either direction depending on the course map (this is new for 2018 - before it was starting to the right only), then rides the green loop, before finalizing the pattern with the second blue loop and exits the same place they rode in. Transitions happen between the barrels and the loops should be the same size.

At L1, the rider can choose either the walk or the trot, with the trot being given a higher score, all things being equal. L2, the rider should trot the obstacle. L3 the obstacle should be cantered with a transition through the trot. L4, canter with transition through the walk. L5 - L7, canter with flying changes. The highest degree of execution is a 4m circle for Children through Intermediate levels and a 3m circle for Advanced and Masters.

The most common mistake I've seen in this obstacle is the rider not completing the full circle of the third barrel and exiting the obstacle early. That is a DQ. Otherwise, it's just a matter of learning how to make the circles the same size and to get sharp, crisp, clean transitions right between the barrels. Piece of cake, right?


Ashke and I are not quite at the 4m circle yet, although we are getting more symmetrical and balanced. A 4m circle is tight for him and we aren't quite there. He gave me some very good transitions though and I was very happy with how it rode on Weds night. He is better able to maintain his circle without throwing his hip out when I remember to keep my head and my boobs from tipping forward over his inside shoulder. I mean, that's a lot of body weight to be dumping down the inside hole. When I remember to keep my shoulders back, sit on my pockets, and LOOK UP and around my circle, he actually does better.

Imagine that.

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