Barrel Race: 16 Common Questions Answered

Some may not know this, but Barrel Racing is actually quite the popular sport when it comes to equine events. This is such a unique sport since anyone can compete here, whether it’d be the youth or the adults, experienced or not, man or woman, anyone who has the guts to join this sport will gladly be welcomed.

In order to really shine and come out as the victor in barrel racing, one must be equipped with the essentials such as a well-trained horse that’s capable of exerting short bursts of energy and a certain amount of skill when it comes to the rider. Although these may not be a strict requirement in order to qualify for barrel racing, it sure is handy.

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Are Barrel Racers Crazy?

Yes, barrel racers are crazy! People who are so invested in barrel racing take it very seriously despite being an extreme sport.

While there are some people who take this answer with a negative connotation, to some, they understand the craziness that comes along with racers who compete in barrel racing. Barrel racing can get really expensive since as a racer, you have to be prepared to be invested in the sport.

Your horses should be fed with the best kind of feed, they have to regularly take their supplements in order to make them healthy and strong, and they must have frequent visits to the vet.

It’s no joke, tall these are very costly. For those who have been barrel racers for a long time, without a doubt they can attest to this. Barrel racers are dedicated to the sport and obviously, show how serious they are with barrel racing.

The cost and difficulty that comes with the sport is exchanged with a feeling of passion and amazement. This not just goes for the sport itself but to the relationship between a racer and his horse as well.

Why Do Barrel Racers Kick So Much?

Only bad barrel racers kick so much. Kicking doesn’t necessarily make a horse run faster.

In reality, kicking a horse does more harm than good. When a rider or a racer kicks their horse, there’s a big tendency for horses to become startled, disturbed, imbalanced, and hurt. With that being said, kicking is advised against using it in barrel races.

It’s most likely that a racer would slow down if he kicks his horse and that of course would cause a disadvantage in barrel racing since the goal of the sport is to clear the course in the shortest amount of time possible.

Are There Male Barrel Racers?

Yes, there are male barrel racers. As a matter of fact, gender doesn’t matter when it comes to barrel racing.

Yes, you read that right, barrel racing is an equine sport where anyone with the guts to compete in this extreme sport is welcomed with open arms.

Although, stigma and stereotypes are quite common within the equine community and for the general public when it comes to barrel racing.

The first thing that comes to mind when someone asks “Who competes in barrel racing?” is the word women or girls.

While it may be true that the majority of those who participate in the sport are women, we can’t deny the fact that men and boys alike also participate in barrel racing.

Some notable men who have made a name for themselves in the sport are Kent Manor, Ty Marks, William Ball, and Lane Smith. Take note, the age range of the names mentioned is from 13 to 18-years-old.

Can A 20-Year-Old Horse Barrel Race?

Yes, a 20-year-old horse can still join and compete in barrel races.

But before you enter your 20-year-old horse into this extreme sport make sure that they are actually capable of performing and conforming to the demands of the sport. In short, as long as they can handle sport, then they’re good to go.

Age is and will never be a determinant of whether or not a horse can compete in barrel racing.

Are Appendix Horses Good Barrel Racers?

Yes, Appendix Horses are good barrel racers.

Appendix horses came from two well-known breeds who excel at various equine sports, namely the Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred Horse.

The Appendix Horse got its good qualities from these two breeds and that makes them perform very well in barrel racing.

Although they may not come up to par with Quarter Horses, that doesn’t make them any less of a performer in barrel racing. They excel with their own capabilities and that mostly boils down to how the racer trains their horse as well.

How Old Are Most Barrel Racers?

Most barrel racers are in their 30s.

Then there are also barrel racers who are very young, some even go as young as three years old when entering the sport! It’s safe to say that the second age group of barrel racers range from teenage years to early and mid-20s.

Do Barrel Racers Wear Chaps?

No, barrel racers don’t wear chaps.

Chaps would most likely get in the way during barrel racing and this would slow down the progress of both the racer and his horse. In a general sense, chaps aren’t recommended for any speedy equine events.

Why Do Barrel Racers Use Rubber Bands?

Barrel racers use rubber bands in order to avoid losing their stirrups.

Stirrups are used for providing stability to riders and losing this would not only be dangerous but costly as well. During a barrel race, racers must only be focused on winning the race quick enough to beat their competitors.

So for them, using a rubber band will keep their mind off of having their stirrups lost in the course during the event.

Rubber bands are a great way of keeping stirrups in place and when stirrups are in place, they don’t get lost and the racer is granted stability all throughout the race.

Racers advise aspiring barrel racers to use thin rubber bands so that they would break or snap when pressure is applied.

How Do Barrel Racers Keep Their Hats On?

Barrel racers keep their hats on by using bobby pins.

Bobby pins are a great way to keep hats in place. These can properly secure the hat on a racer’s head, especially if the bobby pins come from the hair rollers.

Women racers grab a bit of hair and a portion of the hat’s sweatband and pin it using a bobby pin. They also pin the hair at the left back side of their head, the right back side, and the area in front of the ears.

They only use small bobby pins for the area in front of the ears since there are only little baby hairs there.

Why Do Barrel Racers Have A Bad Reputation?

Bad barrel racers have bad reputations.

The reason why barrel racers have a bad reputation among the public is that the majority of the time, video footage of bad racers are shown by the media. Racers that kick their horses too much and treat the horses badly are the things that are usually being shown.

Barrel racing as a sport in itself is not abusive, what makes it abusive are the cruel racers that have unethical training methods for their horses, treating them badly before and during a barrel race.

Do Barrel Racing Horses Need Shoes?

Barrel racing horses need shoes if they are going to run on hard surfaces. On the other hand, if the barrel racing course is being held on sandy grounds, then there is no need for shoes.

Shoes basically protect the hooves of horses against hard surfaces and provide traction and support. A recommended type of horseshoe for barrel racing would be aluminum horseshoes.

Aluminum horseshoes provide benefits for the horse:

  • Lightweight. The horseshoe will feel natural to the horse without the extra weight.
  • Less lower-leg action.
  • Horses that have weak hooves will like how aluminum horseshoes feel due to the comfort it provides
  • Aluminum horseshoes don’t stress out a horse’s hoof  because of their light weight

Does Barrel Racing Hurt The Horse?

Barrel racing hurts horses if they are being whipped at and kicked during racing.

Although not every racer does this, for some of those that do whip and kick their horses, that’s the time when horses are being hurt in barrel racing.

Why Do Barrel Racers Hold The Horn?

Barrel racers hold the horn because this keeps them balanced and not put too much of their weight in only one direction.

If horns are used incorrectly, then that would pose some problems during a barrel race.

For instance, when the horn is being held wrong by the racer, there’s a possibility they will come in contact with the barrels in the course, and that would add more seconds, thus it would lower their chances of winning.

How Much Do Barrel Horses Weigh?

Barrel horses usually weigh around 1,000 pounds to 1,300 pounds.

This is a pretty standard weight for horses that compete in barrel racing. For instance, a Quarter Horse is a popular choice of breed for barrel racing. They typically weigh 1,300 pounds.

Why Do Barrel Racers Put Tape On Their Horse’s Nose?

Barrel racers put nasal strips on their horse’s nose to reduce bleeding and prevent infections from happening.

Infections can damage a horse’s lung and cause serious problems, so the use of nasal strips is very helpful. Nasal strips are a common thing to use when it comes to various equine sports such as barrel racing.

Can You Barrel Race On Grass?

No, you cannot barrel race on grass.

It’s an unstable surface for horses and when grass gets wet, horses have the tendency to slip and fall.

Resources:

https://www.extension.iastate.edu/equine/barrel-racing

https://www.aqha.com/-/barrel-horse-style

https://www.horselistening.com/2013/02/06/stop-kicking-the-horse