I have only been barrel racing for about a year now but there is so much I have learned in that short amount of time. First, go with what Beau said, try it before you make any further decision because the fact this is not a cheap sport.
Second, when looking for a trainer, make sure you are fully comfortable with their teaching techniques because if you are not, it will make it more difficult to learn; there are many trainers that have different techniques and you just have to find the right one that will suit you.
Thirdly, when you're looking for a horse, make sure it is finished on barrels (it will make learning for you much easier), and you might want to ask how long it has been racing for just to get an idea. Also, I was always taught, if you learn it right going slow, it will make it much easier to learn it right when you're going fast; you don't want to pick up any bad habits although it is very fun to go fast you will be better off starting off slow because you will learn better and in the end it will make you not only a better barrel racer but a better rider in general. Oh and don't rush when you're looking into buying a horse I cannot express that enough!! I understand being excited to just get your horse and start learning but make sure it is the right horse for you.
Onto the equipment needed. You will need a barrel saddle, barrel reins (standard barrel racing reins are 8 feat but i prefer shorter reins so I use 7 feat reins), and depending on the horse splint boots and bell boots (bell boots are if the horse over reaches which is when they are galloping, their back hoofs hit the back of their front hoofs which cuts them) so when you're looking at horses to buy make sure to ask if the horse will need splint boots and bell boots but most people ride with them anyways, find a bit that works for the horse (I favor the Sherry Cervi bits, she is a professional barrel racer), breast collar and a helmet if you are more comfortable wearing one personally I don't but it all depends on the rider.
Overall, just do A LOT of research to get yourself familiar with horse breeds that are mostly common in barrel racing which is quarter horses but that is not always the only breed used I have an arabian saddlebred cross and let me tell you, he has been racing for eight years now and he is just soooo good, for me anyways so it doesn't always have to be a quarter horse. Anyways, get yourself familiar with tack and barrel courses (of course), you will be better off soaking in as much knowledge as you can and over time you will learn more.
I hope I helped even a little bit and good luck with everything!! :) :) :)
Barrel Racers- We aren't afraid to get a lil dirty You Wish you could ride like a Barrel Racer
Last edited by DustyDiamond; 07-13-2011 at 12:55 AM.