quick question here
does your horse have to be neckreined to compete in barrel racing?i was just wondering because i saw someone neck reining their horse on the barrels.and i kinda paniced because im trying to get my horse ready for this summers horse shows.also is there anything else that they would count off,what i mean is what are against the rules?
Your horse should be trained to neck rein before you run barrels; however, there are no rules so to speak.
Barrel racing is not like show. They do not dock points etc. Depending on what you are running in club etc...there are rules as to what attire you compete in.
Typically, a horse that is greener on barrels would be direct reined. I often direct rein if running in a snaffle. A horse that is patterned and needs less guidance is going to be neck reined.
I have a seasoned barrel horse that has been out of work for the last two years. I have been direct reining at runs just so I have a little bit more control if I need it.
If you knock a barrel (and it falls over) you will either get a time penalty or get a DQ. Otherwise, they are only looking for speed.
Some places you will need a helmet under 18. You could be safe competing in a long sleeve button up shirt, jeans, cowboy boots (NOT SNEAKERS), and a hat or helmet.
Some places will DQ you for excessive whipping and spurring but this is rare though I have seen it happen once. Some places will not let you whip in front of the cinch.
Some places used to (dont know if they still do) fine if you lose your hat during the race so one of those hats with the strings are good.
I agree with KTS that ideally your horse should be trained to neck-rein before it runs barrels. Just remember to take it slow and try not to rush training just to get ready for your season. The very best horses are trained slowly with a lot of time.
As far as other rules go, it depends on where you are going to be competing. I know around here, local shows have more rules vs. NBHA. For example, around here at local events you cannot hit your horse on the shoulder or above during a run, you can only hit at the rear. So for instance if you were to use an over-under, you could only hit the back of your horse and nothing more.
No, your horse doesnt need to be able to neck rein. I don't ask my barrel horses to neck rein but I expect them to be just as well trained as a horse that does. (Control wise) I've noticed a lot of necking reining horses tend to be a lot stiffer and more prone to dropping into a barrel. But if you keep them soft, it's not a problem.
I typically barrel with a snaffle, therefore I like direct contact. I've had a few horses be stiff and hard at the mouth with neck reining, but I've also had one that did much better with neck reining. It just depends on your horse.
Ask your riding club or the rodeo officials what the rules are on whipping/spurring. Also about the hat thing. And most places require a negative coggins test.
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