- Time is the determining factor in barrel racing.
- If you knock over a barrel, add 5 seconds to your time.
Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a cloverleaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time.
There are 2 penalties in barrel racing: knocking over a barrel and breaking the pattern. If a horse knocks over a barrel, it adds 5 seconds to the time. However, if you’re skilled enough to catch the barrel to prevent it from hitting the ground, you’re in the clear! A broken pattern disqualifies the run completely.
Barrel racing is racing your horse around 3 barrels as fast as you can. The barrels are set up in a triangle pattern in an arena – the first and second barrels are 60 feet from the starting point and the third barrel is 105 feet from the starting point. However, this even calls for much more control of your horse than you think as both horse and rider must work together to have a fast run.
Barrel racing takes a lot of time, discipline, and control. Once you begin training correctly, you will notice that it’s not just about running around barrels. A good rule of thumb for a beginner barrel racer is to perfect the pattern first and the speed will follow. The best way to learn to barrel race is with an instructor, whether it be a seasoned barrel racer or an actual instructor. However, it’s not impossible to teach yourself.
A pocket is a buffer between the horse and the barrel, about 3 to 5 feet in distance. Every barrel horse must learn how to respect and learn the pockets of the barrel as this is what teaches them to give themselves some space when turning the barrel, so they don’t knock it over.
The rate is about 10 feet from the barrel. In the beginning, stop your horse at the point so they know when to slow down and start setting up for the pocket and turning the barrel.
The best way to mark these important points out in the pattern is with soccer cones. However, just like in jumping, you should be looking past your jump and not at it. In barrel racing, you need to train yourself not to look at the barrel in front of you. Instead, look past it then as soon as you round the barrel look past your next barrel.
Start at a walk as you start training. Ensure that you have control of your horse and that you’re stopping at each point. Make sure you are leaning the pockets – going into the barrel a little wide and coming closer as you start for the next barrel. As you start teaching your horse to know where to slow down and set up for the following barrel, train yourself as well; know where to look, where to place your hands, and where to add more leg.
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Hello, My name is Shelby Gatti, and I am the owner of Shelby Ranch. I love being able to share my passion for animals with you and your family. At Shelby Ranch you can expect a ton of family adventure from horseback riding to mechanical bull riding & axe throwing.