I really want to start showing in barrel racing. I have heard some negative things a but barrel racing and my horse because he's a 17 hand thoroughbred. I think he an run and turn just as good as any quarter horse. How do you feel about it?
It really depends on the individual horse..I've seen TBs run barrels before, some are good at it and some aren't. IMO, a TB can run barrels but they just aren't built for it like a QH is. TBs are more of a delicate build and are fine boned..By no means am I knocking a TB, they are my next favorite breed..TBs are built for speed and sprinting, the hard stopping, rating, and turning is really what makes a barrel horse, not the speed, even though that's a key factor and the sport is about speed..If all you have is speed and no rate or sitting ability you won't have great success..Like I said before, some TBs can be good at it, but most just aren't built for it and can't handle the stress on their bodies..It all boils down to each individual horse..Heck, even some QHs aren't built for barrel racing and can't handle the sport...Just because you have a certain breed doesn't mean it's going to be good at what it was bred to do..
I actually have an QH/TB appendix mare who is my most consistent horse and my "go-to" girl..She's got the small build of a TB but the legs, head, and butt of a QH..awesome mix.
It really depends on the individual horse and how they are trained and handled. I have seen a lot of TBs barrel raced through the years and most of them did very good. I have also ran thoroughbreds on the barrels. A lot of the reason they don't make it long is because of their brains...
Some are either really focused and don't get frazzled while others are scatter brained with a attention span of a bug that can't handle the pressure. Which a lot has to do with the rider and training but sometimes the horse just can't handle it. And when training them to it...they are either really smart and catch on or they fall apart faster then you can snap a finger.
If your guy has a solid head on him, has the correct build and body for it, and is athletic to make up for his size you should be good. Just go slow and get a good solid foundation on him on an off the pattern and don't rush. You should be fine, you will probably have to really instil rate though because they are so forward momentum bred. So really get the rate message across and go slow...they can be sensitive and hot if not trained properly.
A third vote for "depends on the horse." If I tried to put my 16.3hh gangly TB gelding on barrels, it would be downright hilarious. He's simply not built for the sharp turns and quick bursts of speed.
My other TB, however, is a 15.3hh mare and is very stocky for a TB. She has the quick turns, the agility, and the short bursts of speed necessary for the barrels. Our first time running them (we had trotted the pattern at home, but no more), she placed third in the class (4H show) against the barrel-bred QHs.