Beginner barrel racing tips can help you get started if you’ve been wanting to jump into one of the most exciting equine sports you could undertake. This rodeo event has been around for many years, and what was once a women’s only activity, is now open to anyone who wants to pursue it.
But you can’t just go saddle up and put your horse to the barrels.
Of course you can learn on any willing horse, but not just any horse will be successful if you want to compete professionally. However, before you worry about that, you have to learn, and odds are, the horse you have now will be acceptable to learn on. Even if the horse will have to learn along with you.
This article will go through some tips to help you get on your way to the adventure and fun of barrel racing.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #1 – Set Up Right
Before you can ride the barrel pattern, you need to take care of a couple things right up front. When you have an inexperienced horse that’s learning with you, make sure you have at least 15 feet, preferably more, of clear space between the barrel and any fencing.
An untrained horse can often go way past the barrel. You don’t want to run into a fence.
Always remember, a green rider on a green horse, can end in disaster. (Green usually refers to a horse that hasn’t much training and a rider who is new to riding. But in this case, I’m referring to a rider who may have a lot of riding experience but be completely new to barrel racing.
And the same for a horse. A horse may be very well-mannered and used to working, but be completely new to barrel racing.)
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #2 – Health Matters
Educate yourself on horse health.
You’ll need to be able to discern if your horse is sore, stiff, or his mental game is off. A horse that doesn’t feel good, for whatever reason, will not perform well. And you’ll want to be able to work with your horse’s health providers and know for certain your horse is getting what he needs.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #3 – Protect Your Head
Wear a helmet. No excuses. You’re learning. Don’t take a chance on an injury that could be devastating.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #4 – The Right Equipment
You’ll need correct gear. Use a saddle suited for barrel racing. These saddles typically have rounded skirts and a deep seat to keep you as secure as possible.
You’ll want to get proper leg protection for your horse as well. Outfit your horse with splint boots and bell boots, front and back. These will protect your horse from any interference and anything they may hit.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #5 – Take it Slow
Start learning the pattern. You should walk your horse through the pattern until it’s familiar to you, then begin trotting, and finally cantering the clover leaf. Get comfortable with this phase before you move forward.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #6 – Learn the Game
Thoroughly learn the sport and the rules. You can’t compete if you don’t know the game. You don’t want to have to guess about anything. Know your sport.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #7 – Get a Trainer
If you really want to barrel race, find a trainer who has done well at it. A good trainer can teach you things they’ve learned from experience. Their help will be invaluable.
If you’re serious and planning to eventually go pro. You can’t skip this. You need someone to teach you. Even if you just want to compete locally, you still need the guidance of someone who knows the sport inside and out.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #8 – Avoid Over Training
Don’t rush and don’t over train your horse. Over training poses the risk of souring your horse on barrel racing. Don’t make every session about training. Go for a hack through the woods and give your horse a break.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #9 – Work Together
You and your horse need to be in tune with each other. If he doesn’t listen to you at home, he won’t listen at an event.
You and your horse are partners. You want a horse that will help and not hinder your learning. Do your best to keep your horse motivated and happy.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #10 – Visit an Event
If your horse isn’t used to noise and a showground atmosphere, take him to some local events but don’t compete. Just let him get accustomed to the sounds, smells, and activity. You don’t want to compete the first time on a horse that’s never been exposed to so much stimulation.
Beginner Barrel Racing Tip #11 – Money Matters
Know where this sport is going. If you find you love it and want to pursue it, be aware this is a big dollar activity. While it’s possible to buy a horse that isn’t trained and bring that horse up to pro level, you will need to put in a lot of work.
If you’re going to buy a horse that’s proven to have some ability, you’ll be looking at a price of $20,000 to $30,000. If you’re looking for a horse that comes from a proven line of winners or has a winning record, you’re going to be looking at $50,000 and up, just for the horse.
There are many other expenses, such as travel, lodging, entry fees, and assorted smaller expenses.
Pro barrel racing can be very rewarding, both in satisfaction for a job well done, monetarily, and in recognition in the equine world. But it won’t come cheap.
My Beginner Barrel Racing Tips Conclusion
Barrel racing is a sport with many fans, both riders and spectators. And why not? There’s excitement, thrills, and big money. It’s a partnership and teamwork with your horse.
And once you get the barrel racing bug, there’s no cure.
So if you’re going to pursue this sport, you have a lot of company. Follow these tips, learn all you can, and go for it.
There are many rewards in working with a horse in the pursuit of something you both enjoy.
And barrel racing may just be the perfect thing to cement your partnership through trust, teamwork, and competition.
Was this post helpful? If so, please leave your comments below. If you’re looking for the best barrel racing saddles, please read my post, “Martha Josey Ultimate Cash Barrel Saddle Review”.