Barrel racing is a sport that's growing
more and more every day, and is a great way for you and your
children to be active and have fun! Contact us today to find
out more about our programs, and how you can get involved
with barrel racing. In the meantime, click on the headings
below to find out more information on this terrific sport!
Turn of Events
Trailer's Barrel Blast
Is Barrel Racing? [back
Barrel Racing is a timed event, where rider
race around three barrels in a clover leaf pattern.
The barrels are set up in a triangular formation, with the
third barrel being the top point of the triangle. You can
either go to the left or right barrel first.
The trick in barrel racing is to make your
turns as sharp and fluid as possible. Speed comes after. You
will always have a faster run if your turns are good, no matter
how fast you're going.
The average time it takes to complete a
barrel race varies depending on the size of pen. In a smaller
pen times can be as fast as 12 seconds. However, in a larger
pen times can be around 18 seconds. Regardless, the difference
between first and second place is usually hundredth's of a
The Rules [back
The rules vary between associations, but
there are some standard rules that are shared universally.
First, you must stay on course; if you fail to remain on course
you receive a "no time". Secondly, a knocked barrel,
depending on the association, is either a "no time"
or is a five second penalty. Thirdly, all show etiquette,
including attire must be adhered to at all times.
Racing Associations [back
There are many associations involved in
Barrel Racing throughout Canada and the United States. Through
horse shows, there are two main associations: the National
Barrel Horse Association (NBHA) and the Ontario Barrel Racing
Association (OBRA). Through the rodeo circuit there are the
Ontario Rodeo Association and the Canadian Cowboys Association.
The Horses [back
The most popular breed of horse to use for
barrel racing is the Quarter Horse. The name Quarter Horse
is derived from the fact that these horses can run the quarter
mile faster than any other breed; however, they cannot maintain
their speed as a breed like a Thoroughbred would.
The Quarter Horse is generally between 14
hh and 16 hh, with powerful haunches and shoulders. They are
well coordinated and highly intelligent. For barrel racing,
their powerful hauches allow them to accelerate away from
the barrels quickly, and slow down before making a turn. Their
balance and coordination allows them to make
such sharp turns without stumbling. Finally, their long hip
adds to their speed in between barrels and on the way through
the finish line.
There are some variation on the breed of
Quarter Horse, mostly to do with colour. For instance, the
American Paint Horse Association registers Quarter Horses
who are either brown and white or black and white in colour
(providing at least one of the parents is a registered paint).
A Palomino is generally a Quarter Horse that is a cream colour
with a white mane and tail. An Appaloosa is a Quarter Horse
that has small patches of colour, depending on the type. All
of these variations, with many more variations (and breeds!),
make excellent barrel horses.
More than just breeding, however, goes into
selecting a barrel horse. Conformation and size are important,
but even more so is attitude. A winning barrel horse is one
that has the drive to win, and will put his whole heart into
Maintain a Barrel Horse [back
Maintaining a barrel horse is the same as
maintaining an athlete. They need to be trained and exercised
six days a week, with exercise rotations that will build muscle
and keep them tuned into their job as barrel horse. Trail
riding is a great way to keep a barrel horse motivated, to
keep them from becoming "sour".
A proper diet is essential as well, complete
with supplements and vitamins to enhance their nutrition.
Barrel horses usually fair best on high maintenance diets
that will aid in maintaining their proper weight and their
Every association requires that the competitors
wear proper clothing in the competition. For cowboys and cowgirls
this includes: a collared western shirt, a cowboy hat, jeans,
boots with a heel and a belt.
Your horse must wear a bridle, saddle and
You should protect your horse's legs with sport medicine boots
and overreach boots, and to maintain a balanced saddle you
should have a breast collar.