15 year old son wants to get into barrel racing
 
 

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15 year old son wants to get into barrel racing

This is a discussion on 15 year old son wants to get into barrel racing within the Barrel Racing forums, part of the Western Riding category
  • Is it okay for guys to barrel race
  • How to start my kid on barrel racing

 
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    07-18-2011, 07:46 PM
  #1
Foal
15 year old son wants to get into barrel racing

My son is nearing the end of his first year of 4H. As a freshman he got a late start since he hasn't been "doing" horses since he was a kid. This is a kid who had literally not even sat on a horse 5 times before he happened to trail along to 4H with his little sister last fall (because he thought a cute girl was going to be there. She wasn't, one of the leaders told him to hop on her horse, and that's kind of how he got hooked.) To my complete delight, he is a very natural horseman, and learns quickly.
Anyway, he's kind of bored with 4H. He doesn't enjoy the halter & equitation type classes. He really likes poles & barrels and wants to just do those. Around here (maybe it's that way everywhere, I don't really know) barrel racing seems to be almost exclusively for girls. The boys do bronc riding & team roping & stuff but for now that doesn't interest him. He wants to barrel race.
I've done some internet searches to find riding clubs and barrel racing clubs but haven't come up with much. I also am concerned that some of the kids I run into at 4H events that are really into speed events seem to also be either relatively incompetent, uncaring or cruel in their horse care. So I have a 3-part question.
First, do guys barrel race & run poles?
Second, any other ideas on how to find groups to run in?
Third, and this may sound stupid, but if we can find a group, how do I discern whether their methods are sound or not? I tend to be softer on my horses than I probably should, generally tending to try patience and pushing by small amounts rather than beating them into doing what I want (which seems to be the norm around here. "Real" horse people use spurs til they bleed, harsh bits, whips, yanking on mouths, etc. to get their desired results from their horses. Maybe I'm delusional thinking more force isn't always the best method).
Help?
     
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    07-18-2011, 08:03 PM
  #2
Weanling
In open associations there's alot of male barrel racers. IBRA and NBHA. My boyfriend barrel races, in NBHA. I would suggest finding a few of their shows and meeting people to help him get into it. At least around here, everybody is very friendly and wants to help the newbies as much as possible. There's alot of barrel trainers that give lessons. Also maybe join barrelhorseworld.com and ask around for people in your state.
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    07-18-2011, 08:15 PM
  #3
Green Broke
YES. Males can barrel race and pole bend right along side the girls! I, personally, (17) love to go to the local gymkhanas/NBRA/fun shows/4h shows and see guys. I'm into barrel racing, my best friend (male, 17) is also into barrel racing and we both have great fun. So, let him go for it. I'd rather see a guy running barrels than risking more injury on a bronc :p I'd let my kid do barrels and pole bending, but I doubt I'd let him even attempt broncs until he was 18. I'm not paying for those medical bills :p Of course I don't have kids yet, and my opinion might change when that time comes, but that's my two cents on it at the moment.(:
Also, I'd say forget about finding clubs for barrel racing. I would rather my kid sacrifice one rote classes of halter/showmanship to help improve the groundwork with his horse and keeping the calm in the arena than just letting him run barrels and poles when he goes in the arena. As long as they have barrel racing and pole bending at the 4h shows (like we do), he should be fine staying involved in that.
I know where you're coming from about the racing abuse :/ Barrel horses shouldn't need harsh spurs. A barrel horse shouldn't need to be yanked around with a huge bit. Whips are truthfully optional IMO; as long as it's nothing at the head/upper neck and it's not overexessive I don't have an issue with it. I don't unless I'm having violence/dominance issues since I ride and run different horses, but it's never excessive. Just make sure you let your boy know that these methods are acceptable, and these will get you taken off the horse and you won't be able to run barrels or poles anymore. He can either comply, or lose all the girls he gets to ogle at during the shows, haha. It's simple, makes you and him happy, and who cares what anyone else atthe shows think? :p

I would definitely let him try it out, but make sure to make sure he doesn't start crossing the boundaries with controlling the horse. Don't be too overwhelming, but be firm and not lenient with the boundaries that you set.(:
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    07-19-2011, 01:42 PM
  #4
Green Broke
Quote:
Originally Posted by brandilion    
First, do guys barrel race & run poles?
Yes. With a capital Y!

Look at Lance Graves, Bret Monroe, Ed Wright, and Troy Crumrine just to name a few. All men barrel racers and trainers; and darn good ones at that.
Lance Graves World Champion Barrel Racer, barrel horses for sale, barrel horse training videos
Troy Crumrine Barrel Clinic
Slash W Barrel Horses - Home of Ed and Martha Wright - Barrel Racing at its best!

And let's not forget Wayne Sandberg, author of "19 second pole bending". Or Ken Smith, who teaches his method.
Pole Bending Clinics with Ken Smith


Quote:
Originally Posted by brandilion    
Second, any other ideas on how to find groups to run in?
The only association I have ever heard of that does not allow male barrel racer would be the WPRA (Women's Professional Rodeo Association). Of course, your local rodeo clubs may follow suit and leave the barrel racing to the ladies, but pretty much any barrel racing club or gymkhana or playday is going to allow both genders to compete in both events. And if you are not sure if there is a gender "rule", ask! If there is nothing in the rulebook, then they have to allow your son to run if he pleases.

So really, you shouldn't have to "find" groups that allow men to barrel race. Unless its a rodeo, there are few and far between with that restriction.


Quote:
Originally Posted by brandilion    
Third, and this may sound stupid, but if we can find a group, how do I discern whether their methods are sound or not? I tend to be softer on my horses than I probably should, generally tending to try patience and pushing by small amounts rather than beating them into doing what I want (which seems to be the norm around here. "Real" horse people use spurs til they bleed, harsh bits, whips, yanking on mouths, etc. to get their desired results from their horses. Maybe I'm delusional thinking more force isn't always the best method).
Help?
Barrel racing gets a bad rap. I know that. And I don't mean to sound rude, but you even asking this question in the first place offends me. There are harsh/cruel riders in EVERY SINGLE HORSE SPORT. Yes, I've even seen 4H-ers and their parents doing nasty things to horses to get them to perform. I've been with people just out trail riding that mis-treat their horses. I hate it when barrel racers are automatically assumed to be abusive riders when it is clearly something that occurs everywhere and is not the fault of the sport, but is the fault of the rider.

You can't let the poor riders in the world influence your riding, because they are everywhere, unfortunately. And the group or club they ride in certainly has nothing to do with how someone is going to ride and treat their horse. And for that matter, the discipline they choose to ride also has nothing to do with how they are going to ride and treat their horse.

A bad rider = a bad rider = a bad rider. Period.

Barrel racing gets the bad repuation because people who don't know anything about it assume no training is required and you just kick and spur around 3 cans as fast as you can. For those bad riders who like to cut corners and just force their horse to do things, barrel racing seems pretty appealing. No dress code and basically no rules, for them.

So whatever barrel race you decide to attend, you'll have to deal with the bad riders and know-it-all's just as you would anywhere else.

I don't use whips or spurs on my barrel horse. He goes with the squeeze of my leg and my voice. I have limited riding with him right now due to graduate school, but when we had the chance to compete a few times last summer, we won the 1D on several occasions at nearby jackpots.

Kudos to you for being gentle and encouraging with your horses as well. But realize that barrel racing itself has nothing to do with poor riding -- HUMANS do.
     
    07-19-2011, 03:46 PM
  #5
Yearling
Quote:
Originally Posted by beau159    
Barrel racing gets a bad rap. I know that. And I don't mean to sound rude, but you even asking this question in the first place offends me. There are harsh/cruel riders in EVERY SINGLE HORSE SPORT. Yes, I've even seen 4H-ers and their parents doing nasty things to horses to get them to perform. I've been with people just out trail riding that mis-treat their horses. I hate it when barrel racers are automatically assumed to be abusive riders when it is clearly something that occurs everywhere and is not the fault of the sport, but is the fault of the rider.

You can't let the poor riders in the world influence your riding, because they are everywhere, unfortunately. And the group or club they ride in certainly has nothing to do with how someone is going to ride and treat their horse. And for that matter, the discipline they choose to ride also has nothing to do with how they are going to ride and treat their horse.

A bad rider = a bad rider = a bad rider. Period.

Barrel racing gets the bad repuation because people who don't know anything about it assume no training is required and you just kick and spur around 3 cans as fast as you can. For those bad riders who like to cut corners and just force their horse to do things, barrel racing seems pretty appealing. No dress code and basically no rules, for them.

So whatever barrel race you decide to attend, you'll have to deal with the bad riders and know-it-all's just as you would anywhere else.

I don't use whips or spurs on my barrel horse. He goes with the squeeze of my leg and my voice. I have limited riding with him right now due to graduate school, but when we had the chance to compete a few times last summer, we won the 1D on several occasions at nearby jackpots.

Kudos to you for being gentle and encouraging with your horses as well. But realize that barrel racing itself has nothing to do with poor riding -- HUMANS do.
Me Like =).

It is a female dominated sport, but I have seen a lot of guys who compete in it.

Look/Ask in local tack stores. They often know a lot about shows going on in the area. As well as any free horse magazines (In cali we have the Horse Trader....) they often list events and what not going on.
     
    07-22-2011, 05:09 PM
  #6
Foal
Thanks for the good info & encouragement!
Beau--I don't think that barrel racing is a cruel sport. I think it's a beautiful symphony when done correctly. I just have noticed the people around the (very few) events I've been to, seem to be pretty backwards hicks who's only methods include harsh bits, spurs, spurs & more spurs, yanking on horses' faces, sharper spurs, and harsh methods.
I really want him to learn correctly, was all I was saying, and so far I haven't seen anyone around here who rides that way.
     
    07-25-2011, 09:47 PM
  #7
Green Broke
Brandilion: In your original post you said:

Quote:
I've done some internet searches to find riding clubs and barrel racing clubs but haven't come up with much. I also am concerned that some of the kids I run into at 4H events that are really into speed events seem to also be either relatively incompetent, uncaring or cruel in their horse care.
Therefore you are already dealing with bad riders (as I pointed out in my post) in your 4H shows with your son (because bad riders are everywhere; not just speed events). You've taught him well, right? You've shown him the difference between treating a horse right and asking them softly versus forcing a horse to do something? I imagine you have. You can't keep him in a bubble. He's going to be exposed to bad riders everywhere in life. Wouldn't you rather he experience it when you are around to explain why you should treat a horse the proper way? And regardless, if you've engrained your teaching into him, I doubt he'll stray far from his training, if at all.

Quote:
I just have noticed the people around the (very few) events I've been to, seem to be pretty backwards hicks who's only methods include harsh bits, spurs, spurs & more spurs, yanking on horses' faces, sharper spurs, and harsh methods.
I really want him to learn correctly, was all I was saying, and so far I haven't seen anyone around here who rides that way.
Well get out to more barrel races because there ARE good riders there too! You may even be able to find someone to help mentor your son to do the barrels correctly.

Of course, books and DVDs are also great references and learning tools. Some of my favorites are Charmyane James, Martha Josey, and Sharon Camarillo.
     
    07-27-2011, 03:18 PM
  #8
Foal
Hi! Im 16 and I have been barrel racing and pole bending for quite awhile! It takes practice. I probably wouldn't joing the NBHA/IBRA right away if he is just starting out as they are more costly shows. I would start with the smaller fun shows where its cheaper. I would find people near you who people seem to like and trust and maybe ask them to do lessons. Barrels and Poles isn't something you can just start running right away. There are so many things to learn. I really like Charmayne James. I own her videos and book and she is really good! 11 World Championships! Her videos are long but she uses repetition in her teaching which really helps you learn it better and she explains things very well.

Ignore bad riders. We can't really do anything about them. My parents tell me this: you jerk on your horse and Ill jerk you right off your horse. 95% of them time its the riders fault. If I hit a barrel or pole...I know its my fault! I don't get mad at my horse...it was my fault. When I mess up..I just tell myself "it was one run. This is what I did and this is what I have to do to fix it."

Taping videos is an awesome way to learn what to do because often riders don't recognize what their doing. They can go back and be like "oh ok that's why that happened"

Hope this helps! Just surround yourself with good trustworthy people. Its what I do! We met people at a show and now we go with them everywhere! They are so nice! Just ignore the other people!
     
    07-29-2011, 10:12 PM
  #9
Foal
I definitely see guys barrel race..
And Im sorry you see stuff like that... As mentioned earlier there are bad riders everywhere you can't just pin it on the barrel racers... People like that don't deserve horses... I have never and never will use spurs on a horse... If a horse wont go I MIGHT put bumper spurs on or something easy... I use a whip in lunging but never hit the horse EVER. Just tap on the rear. I say you should let your son do it! If he's a good kid and he loves horses he would never hurt them Im sure! The people that are harsh are pretty much blaming their horses for everything when its not the horses fault... but its sad. Your son sounds like a good guy though and if he hasnt been rough with a horse before why would he change? And why would he be around people he doesnt have too and watch them treat a horse bad if he doesnt have too if he cares about them? Everytime I see a person treat a horse wrong I feel pain for that horse.. I just wish I could take all of them home and treat them the right way... But I can't ..
     
    08-01-2011, 12:25 PM
  #10
Foal
Quote:
Originally Posted by shortysmalls    
I MIGHT put bumper spurs on or something easy...
I use bumper spurs and it isnt to make the horse run. They are actually very nice non-harsh spurs. I love to use them when going around barrels because sometimes I don't put enough pressure on the horse to round them out and the bumper spurs give me that extra length to reach the horse. They don't cut the horse at all which is really good. They are more of an aid for riding then forcing the horse to run which is awesome!
     

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