SUBMITTED BY MELISSA SWORD
Barrel racing is not just a way of life; it is a love of life. Nothing makes you feel more alive than the adrenalin rush of running speeds of up to 50 miles an hour on the back of a powerful 1000 pound plus horse competing against other like minded people.
Wikipedia defines barrel racing as “a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to complete a clover-leaf pattern around preset barrels in the fastest time”, but I don’t think it’s as simple as it sounds.
From conception to competition, you are looking at an average of three to four years time and money invested in a horse before you even begin to figure out if you have a good barrel racing prospect on your hands. It is desirable to have a big horse with the breeding, confirmation and athletic ability to run at high speeds towards a 50 gallon metal barrel, turn it as close as possible without knocking it over and then drive forward to the next barrel. Of course, there are always exceptions. That 14.2 HH quick athletic horse can make up a lot of time on the turns and put in some surprisingly fast times, possibly giving it an advantage on a small pattern.
What horse comes to your mind when you think “barrel horse”? Charmayne James’s horse, Scamper (Gills Bay Boy), Kristie Peterson’s Bozo (French Flash Hawk), Canadian barrel racer Lindsay Sears horse, Martha (Sugar Moon Express) or that special horse in your life that won you your first buckle?
I don’t know about you, but I love them all!