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free_sprtd 01-29-2010 01:49 AM

The downsides to running barrels.
I am highly considering this sport and need to know all the details. Tonight I went and watched a local competition and almost every other horse was in some way lame from recent injury or confirmation. Some were more obvious then others.

When I mention to most "non" horsey people that I may participate, they have lots of negative views. My trainer and I have a different view and out look on how to run, turn, ect that I am assuming is better for the horses movement and not just "flying by the seat of our pants" and running.

What are your opinions on the sport, drawbacks, and long term damage it can cause to the horse?

IF I choose to only participate for fun, I may pursue reigning, cutting, and/or maybe dressage (Thunder would be good at it ;) )

kevinshorses 01-29-2010 02:25 AM

I think the most damage is to thier head. Most riders spur spur spur then they haul back on the reins and then as the horse is trying to slow down they spur spur spur again. The worst part of barrel racing is putting up with barrel racers. Even bull riders won't put up with some of it.

free_sprtd 01-29-2010 02:32 AM

Kevin I completely agree with you! That is why I had such a negative image at first was because of the ones I had seen and met. After meeting and getting to know my trainer, she has a completely different outlook on the sport and her attitude is amazing. She does it for herself and no one else. I really like that. I think I may start with this sport and see if it's for me, if not then move on to the next.

However, I do think I want to train my gelding in dressage and western (maybe reigning?) we'll see if it's for him though.

kevinshorses 01-29-2010 02:34 AM

The more reining training you both have the better your barrel experience will be.

free_sprtd 01-29-2010 02:36 AM

Very good point thank you for your responses :)

MacabreMikolaj 01-29-2010 03:12 AM

Agreed. I can't help but shake my head at all these PETA protesters going after bull riders and calf ropers - if they bothered to open their eyes, they'd see the vicious little witches with jaw breaker bits and no brains to save a rock are the most appalling abusive rodeo go'ers. It makes me cringe watching how idiotically half these women treat their animals - but somehow because they're women, they must be kinder then cowboys?!

Kudos to you for doing it right. Barrel racing has developed such a tarnished image, and it ticks me off because I love it as a sport. Racehorses don't need to be razzed before a race. Show jumpers don't need to be razzed before a course. Why on earth is it acceptable for barrel racers to have uncontrollable mounts who disolve into neurotic puddles as soon as they see a gate? I do not believe for even a second that amping an animal up that much give you ANY competitive edge. They run so blindly into their turns nowadays, it's amazing we don't see more wrecks. These girls just drill the pattern into their poor brains and then hang on for dear life, kicking and hollering and bouncing the entire way. It's disgraceful that such a sport has allowed every last shred of horsemanship fly out the window, waving as it goes.

Haha, anyway, sorry for ranting. I agree totally with kevinshorses, a good reining foundation on your horse will automatically put you three steps ahead of most of your competitors. It also gives your horse more to think about then just a pattern - it teaches him not to lose his marbles when he sees a gate because he's not quite sure exactly what you guys may be doing, so he doesn't have to get "excited" yet. After seeing what barrel horses have become, I don't think I could ever do my mount a disservice by turning him/her into ONLY a barrel racer. Horses need more stimulation then racing around the same pattern forty times a day. I think in the long run, your chances of winning are going to be much better when you have a horse that responds to you, not to the pattern. Heart isn't developed by making your horse such a neurotic mess that he looks "amped to run!" Heart is developed by understanding and making your horse enjoy his work.

As long as you keep those key elements in mind, I have zero issues with barrel racing and I can guarantee a lot of horses find it hella fun as it's a little less controlled then most disciplines and let's them really rip. The only negatives I see in barrel racing are obsessive twits with NO regard for their mount. I do not see why injury should be prevelant if they would actually bother to do something OTHER then slamming their horses tendons into the dirt, or their asses on their backs for that matter. These same idiots are usually running 2 and 3 year olds around the patterns, so that could be a huge issue in lameness as older horses.

Best of luck! It's always exciting to meet someone who wants to do it RIGHT and instill the good old heart and soul of true barrel racing!

BuckOff41570 01-29-2010 06:19 AM

Barrel racing is a fun sport...but there are a lot of negative effects from it.
Most of which is RIDER caused...not because of the sport itself.
As far as wear and tear, barrels and reining are in the same ball park.
THE BEST way to persue barrels is to surround yourself with KNOWLEDGABLE horsemen, not only in the sport of barrel racing, but also on horsemanship in general. Being green is the one thing that will work against you in barrels, and it'll happen fast.
Before touching a barrel pattern I suggest drowning yourself and your horse in fundamentals. Take reining lessons. Take dressage lessons. Both would help you no matter what you choose. And if/when you decide to barrel race, you'll have a better understanding of your body position, as well as your horses.

ilovestitch 01-29-2010 07:53 AM

I run barrels and I agree with kevinshorses and buckoff41570. It is a wonderful thing to get into as long as you have knowledgable people around you to teach you and uyou start your horse off with the patterns the right way. Thats where alot of people go wrong, they think they will just 'punch it to the floor' and wrench their horses face around the barrel, thats how horses get sour and get messed up in the head. As long as you do it the righ way and start teaching your horse the pattern correctly at a walk and trot and slowly move up your speed it can be a wonderful thing to do with your horse.

kevinshorses 01-29-2010 08:30 AM

You also need to keep your horse the hell away from a barrel pattern except MAYBE one time per week. If I were to train a barrel horse I would do everything I could think off that was not in an arena.

SmoothTrails 01-29-2010 10:15 AM

^ I agree Kevin. Ours only get on the pattern a few times every couple or three weeks. Other than that they work on basics and trail riding to keep their mind right. It makes such a difference to your times to do that. I don't ride barrels, but my step-dad and best friend do. (I'm learning) The horses have to know the basics. Our horses aren't pulled around the barrels, they are moved mostly with legs and then you follow their head with the reins. (there is normally slack as we go around) My step-dad always says a good lazy horses is the one that wins. They don't use up all their energy, and they can actually focus on the barrels.

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