For almost a hundred years, cowboys and cowgirls have been racing their way around barrels. A perfect barrel run is an amazing thing to watch, as a horse and their rider work in a hard-earned, perfect partnership. Those winning teams don’t happen by chance; riders spend months, sometimes even years, looking for their perfect horse. What characteristics and breeds make for a better racer is a question that’s answered as much by the type of rider you are as much as by the horse itself, but at the bottom line is a quest for the right conformation, dexterity and speed.
Barrel Racer breed of horse needs to be versatile
There’s no one true breed for rodeos. Most associations and organizations allow any breed to participate and compete. However, the Quarter Horse is the most commonly found type of horse at the events. They’re one of the most versatile of the breeds, and they typically have the speed and agility necessary to bend their bodies around the barrels. However, there’s no right or wrong choice; it’s what works for you. Each barrel racer has their particular favourite blend of breeds and bloodlines.
Cross bred v Bloodline- whats best?
Some trainers prefer horses from racing bloodlines as there’s the base for speed to outrun their competition. Other trainers prefer horses from cutting or cow working lines as they tend to be smaller and more nimble, able to shave time off with faster turns. Other trainers still prefer to mix the blood of both to try and come up with their ideal combination of agility and speed. Past winners are always a popular choice for a bloodline when it comes to choosing a future barrel racer. However, the more wins in their past, the more expensive they’re going to be.
Cant beat an experienced barrel racer breed of horse.
Newer riders should start out with older and experienced horses. Let the horse’s experience and knowledge make up for your slack. Barrel racing requires split-second decision making and a green rider with a green horse is an accident looking for a place to happen. Barrel racing horses often run well into their teens and twenties so a horse that may seem ‘long in the tooth,’ is still more than able to win. As you gain experience, you can choose horses with less experience and train them to race the way you want them to race. Practice, experience and the right horse leads to a seamless and successful ride.
Whether you’re racing in a local competition or in a national, your horse is your partner .