What is barrel racing?

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Many often wonder what barrel racing is… it’s actually more complicated than it seems. The goal of barrel racing is to get around all three barrels without knocking them over, the person with the fastest time wins. Though that is the goal there is a lot that goes into it, the horses have to be specially trained and rider has to practice almost everyday. The commitment of racing is extreme and just like any other sport requires an extreme amount of practice, riders give up a lot of free time to practice and bond with their horses.

Picking the right horse?
Most horse picks are quarter horses, they are short and stocky but are extremely fast, getting a horse breed for racing can be the upwards of $10,000 minimum. Horses bred for racing often are a little easier to train and they hold up at the bit. Getting the right horse and bred is essential to winning.

Controlling a 2000 lbs animal.
Most wouldn’t believe that it is possible, but most horses are extremely sweet and loving, when working with/picking a horse it’s always a good idea to get to know them. Horses feel everything the rider feels, if the rider is nervous so is the horse and it will most likely act up more, so keeping a strong and confident posture is key. Barrel racers control the horse with reins, their feet, and sometimes a whip ( no this does not hurt the horse). Horses respond to the pattern based on what the rider is telling them. If the horse needs to go right, the rider will simply pull the reins right. Some horses can respond to the tiniest of movements, but that takes a lot of time and training.

The pattern.
The barrel racing pattern is a simple clover pattern. With a right and two left turns, it almost seems simple. Getting around the barrels is one of the hardest things to do, and the most time consuming. Everything must be quick and precise not a bit should be overlooked. Even the horses with the most amount of training it can still be just as hard.

How do you win?
Most races have one or two runs, in those runs the rider must get through all three barrels without knocking them over, if the rider knocks a barrel over its a five second deduction. If the rider breaks pattern it is no time, and in some cases if the riders hat comes off it is a 5 second deduction. The runs sometimes can be a point system and the person with the most points wins.

Though barrel racing is fun it is also challenging, that’s why many people enjoy it.

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