I've been riding for about..13 years? And been barrel racing the past 6:)
I started barrels on my 18 year old gelding who was a 1D horse, but would take me around as slow or as fast as I felt comfortable. He wasn't built like most of the QHs you see barrel racing. Infact, he really wasn't that great looking of a horse. I rode in a dorky little Abetta saddle and matching pad and tack. People would laugh until he got on the pattern. That boy knew what he was doing!!!
When Mango passed away at 21 (wayyy before he should've gone), my friend who I had bought him from offered to sell me her mare. She was 17, and a very well trained ranch horse. You name it, she had done it. She was built much more like the barrel horses you see now adays, but only around 14.3 hands. She can really get into the dirt:)
Rosie is now 20, and is still going strong. She hardly ever acts her age!! She brought me 2 buckles in Stakes race and Keyhole this year through the OkFQHR, and my and my best friend tied in poles.
Rosie is an AMAZING horse. She is my drill, show, speed event, reining, trail and soon to be sorting horse. She is my go-to horse:)
Then I have a 4 year old that I am starting on the pattern next year:) She is racing on top, cutting on the bottom. Perfect combo!