08-21-2013, 11:44 AM
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My 9 year old daughter has been barrel racing and pole bending in her little English saddle up to this point, but so far she hasn't gone any faster than a lope. She doesn't know it yet, but she has a little Abetta western saddle on lay away for Christmas so she can start getting more serious. You need that horn not just for security when things speed up but it's actually part of your cuing the horse. When you're lined up with the barrel, you sit back and grab that saddle horn. Your horse feels that and is cued to turn. My daughter has a grab strap on her English saddle but it's not the same. So it just depends on how serious you want to get. You can run barrels bareback for all that matters, but in a true run, nothing beats the security of a deep seated barrel saddle with a little rough out to keep you from sliding.