Charlotte Cunningham

Communication and Consistency

Charlotte Cunningham - Communication and Consistency

By: VeNecia DeCluette 2008

Ladies and Gentlemen, this video could easily go down as one of the best To the rider, barrel racing enthusiast and fellow barrel horse trainers, Charlotte Cunningham has put together a training video worth its literal weight in gold. For herself . . . this video may be the end of her fruitful career as a trainer. Charlotte is the 1994 BFA Futurity Champion (riding Orange Smash) and has gone on to a successful career as a barrel horse trainer. She has made some of the easiest to ride, and hardest to beat horses in the barrel racing industry including her current mount Famous Betta Be Me.

In this video, Charlotte shows you exactly how she has made those champions, and how she addresses issues as they crop up along the competition rode. Charlotte’s focus in this video is on the rider’s responsibility to clearly and consistently communicate with their horse, but she delves so deep into that communication that you’ll find yourself taking notes and hitting the rewind button repeatedly.

Charlotte’s discussion on equipment is phenomenal in this video. She discusses bits in detail, and walks you through the progression that she follows with a horse through its
training. No stone is left unturned during this bit talk, from the effect the bits have on a horse’s flexibility and response to the position of a noseband on a hackamore, Charlotte holds nothing back. Charlotte also takes time in this video to discuss her saddle selection and how it fits the form and function of the horses she rides, as well as addresses her physical needs. She discusses the proper blanketing techniques for the Deb Sibley Saddles that she rides, and even goes into detail on her protective boot selection. You will not wonder, after having watched this video, what Charlotte is riding in.

Charlotte’s discussion on equipment is informative, but where this video really shines is when she starts to ride. At the request of viewers, Charlotte takes the time to discuss specific issues that are common to barrel racers all over. Charlotte illustrates and instruct extensively on positioning your horse in the pattern in a consistent manner, and how that seemingly simple act will solve most problems. She provides solutions to issues like running past the barrel, hitting barrels and horses that sling their butts. There seems to be no end to the amount information that Charlotte is willing to provide in this video. It is an added treat that you are able to see Charlotte working unfinished horses. The benefit being that you get to see the correction of actual issues, not just explanations.

This video is suitable for intermediate to advanced riders with at least average riding ability, as the concepts do require some previous knowledge and are specific to the barrel pattern. The exercises presented here are suitable for horses with a basic riding foundation as well as horses with advanced levels of training. The video addresses equipment selection, positioning in the barrel patterns, issue resolution for specific barrel racing ailments, and rider responsibility.

As an added bonus, Dr. Mitch Hutchinson from Stephenville Veterinary Clinic in Stephenville, Texas, offers comprehensive advice about spotting soreness and rehabbing equine injuries, conformation and how it can affect an equine career, equine dental care and much more.