barrel racing saddlesWhat are barrel racing saddles? Before I answer this question, you need to know what barrel racing is.  Barrel racing is a rodeo event wherein a horse and its rider ride around a clover-leaf pattern around 3 barrels.

The goal is to finish riding around the clover-leaf pattern in the quickest possible time without knocking over any of the 3 barrels.

In order to accomplish this goal, the horse and rider need to be in perfect sync when making these tight turns. And barrel racing horses need to be agile, strong, fast and smart enough to maneuver the course. Most importantly, in order to compete in this sport, you’ll need a high-quality Western barrel racing saddle.

Barrel Racing Saddles – Light Weight to Shave Seconds off Your Time

Traditional Western saddles tend to be heavy.  But the barrel racing saddle is purposely designed to be lighter in weight in order to shave seconds off your time when barrel racing.  It’s also the smallest version of western saddles.

The skirts are rounded, and the rigging is typically in the skirt, which also accounts for the lightness of this saddle. During barrel racing, security of the saddle is important. So let’s take a look at the security features of the barrel racing saddle.

Barrel Racing Saddles – Deep Seat for Rider Security

Security of the rider in the seat is paramount during a barrel racing saddle sporting event. The manufacturers of the barrel racing saddle have designed a deep seat and high cantle in order to secure the rider during high speeds and tight turns.

The cantle is the back portion of the saddle seat. It provides backrest and support. It not only helps keep the rider anchored in the seat, but it anchors the bars of the saddle tree. (The saddle tree is a frame around which a saddle is built.) Ostrich leather is commonly used as a seat and skirt accent, which can provide extra grip.

During tight turns, the rider needs to be able to hold on to the horn. Unlike traditional Western saddle horns, the barrel racing saddle horn is thinner, so the rider can hold on to it during tight arcs.

Barrel Racing Saddles – Rider Grip Security

barrel racing saddles

Western saddles are manufactured with several components that make the saddle both functional and effective. It’s crucial for you, as the rider, to understand the parts of a saddle and its function in order to determine the right saddle to buy and what size.

The Pommel or Swell The pommel, or swell, is the part of the saddle where the bars of the saddle’s tree come together at the front of the saddle. It serves as a base for the saddle horn. In the barrel racing saddle, the pommel of the saddle is higher in order to ensure that the rider’s seat is secure.

Rough-Out Jockey and Fenders While the pommel of the saddle is high to ensure rider security, the rough-out jockey and fenders on the barrel racing saddle are to keep the rider’s body from coming into contact with the saddle’s rigging while riding – which aids in the rider’s grip.

Barrel Racing Saddles – Stirrups Provide Better Grip

Most of the barrel racing saddle features are designed with the rider’s security at high speeds in mind. For instance, the stirrups tend to be designed narrower to provide better grip of the rider’s feet. It keeps the rider’s feet in place and keeps it from coming dislodged during the jockeying.

Fenders The fenders in a barrel racing saddle are designed to be free-swinging. It gives the rider freedom of motion while allowing the rider to remain centered in their seat during violent movement of the horse.

Cinch During barrel racing, as with all horse riding, but especially barrel racing, the back cinch is used to ensure that during high speeds, your saddle doesn’t ride forward on the horse.  In addition, a breast collar is used to stop the saddle from sliding off the sides of the horse’s barrel.

Flashy Barrel Racing Saddles

Although lots of men indulge in barrel racing, it really is a female-dominated sport. That’s why barrel racing saddles tend to be flashy. Bold colors are commonly used, such as purple, blue, pink and green. Often times, barrel racing saddles tend to be accented with crystals, conchos, silver studs, and inlay.

So if you’re considering buying a barrel racing saddle, make sure you take into account all of the features and designs that are available.  Billy Cook has beautifully crafted barrel racing saddles at affordable prices.

Have you bought a barrel racing saddle? If you’re still on the fence about which barrel saddle to buy, check out the Pozzi Barrel Saddle Sale. We’d love to hear your comments on purchasing a barrel racing saddle. Feel free to drop your comments below.