Barrel racing is a specific type of rodeo event. It has quite a straightforward pattern of execution. As the event name suggests, barrel racing involves riding around three barrels in a diamond pattern in a field. Riders are only allowed to navigate barrel horses through a clover leaf pattern. Since it is a type of race, the winner is the one able to execute the correct pattern at the fastest speed. Clocks and timers are therefore necessary for the event.
Much depends on the skill of the rider. Specific traits and temperaments in barrel horses however are also necessary. In the end, it is the harmonious relationship of riders and horses that ultimately lead to successful executions.
Horses for Barrel Racing
The primary requirements for barrel horses are speed and agility. These however are not the only encompassing desirable traits. A horse used for barrel racing also needs to be controlled, willing, calm and intelligent. Otherwise, a rider will be unable to manage the horse or guide it to follow cues and commands.
Riders training barrel horses need to be methodical and patient. An innately fast horse needs to be trained not to be intimidated by the barrels and to control speed at specific points in the execution of the clover leaf pattern. Some breeds to consider for barrel racing include:
- Arabian- An Arabian horse is typically sleek, elegant and light, making it uncomplicated to manage in a barrel course. Although it is not as fast as other warmbloods, it has a strong spirit that makes it ideal for competition. Arabians can adjust well to human handling because they have a long history of human contact.
- Quarter Horse- This breed is sought after as a source of excellent barrel horses. This is mainly because quarter horses excel at bursts of speed over short distances. All that remains is to train a quarter horse to be in control or to moderate speed when navigating turns.
- Paint Horse- Horses of this breed are colorful because of their spots. They are not just a color breed though. A true paint horse must be descended from thoroughbreds and quarter horses. A paint horse therefore carries traits from both breeds. They are typically fast like quarter horses but are also strong, muscular and solid like thoroughbreds.
- Appaloosa- Horses of this breed also carry spots. They are however equally as known for their stamina, strength and compact conformation. Through the years, their stamina has particularly recommended them for a variety of rough Western disciplines. They are therefore a logical choice for barrel racing.
Many individuals can learn to excel in barrel racing. It is important to note though that developing ideal barrel horses intended specifically for the event is a necessity. A good barrel racing rider will amount to little without the right horse.