What people who are novices to barrel racing need to realize is that you can't compare times from arena to arena, from day to day when the barrels are set differently, or when the ground condition is different, and so on. I've run a 13.7 and not placed, and then gone and won a big jackpot with a 16.6. Two different days, two different pens, but mostly the same horses and people. The first run was OK, the second run was great.
This is also what I was going to say.
Also, this issue has already been discussed at length in this post: Your Fastest Time!
I understand the idea behind the original post and that it is with good intentions, but ideally you cannot compare one barrel run with another unless both runs were ran on the standard barrel racing pattern
recognized by the WPRA. This is that pattern:
There is 90 feet between barrel 1 and barrel 2.
105 feet from barrel 1 or 2 to barrel 3
60 feet from barrel 1 or 2 to the start line
20 feet from the wall for any barrel
Only when two people run this exact same size pattern can you even try to compare two runs. And even then, weather and ground conditions can influence times too.
Also, this really is a large pattern
and very few arenas are large enough to hold it. So the majority of arenas will have a pattern that is smaller than this, and thus have lower times.
Currently, the world record on a standard barrel racing pattern is a 16.643 made by Nicole Aichele and Biankus French Girl at the 2010 BRN4D Championship Round.
With that said, my horse's personal best was a 17.761 on the standard pattern, with which we won the 1D. I remember the time down to the thousand of a second because I was just blown away with his time. He's never run so hard before and I was so proud of him!
So it's great to say "oh my best was a 14.3" .... or "well my friend ran a 16.7 and won the rodeo" .... or whatever ....
But in reality, it doesn't mean anything because you can't compare the runs because they were not done on the same size pattern. Instead, you should base the level of your run based on how you placed
at the event you ran at; not by the time.