Just some of my own observations/pet peeves/annoyances whatever you want to call them:
1. Just because you are in the arena for 16 seconds, does not mean you get to forgo basic horsemanship. You are not flying -- Stop flapping your arms and for gods sake stop bouncing your horses back.
2. A good barrel horse should be able to run a pattern in a snaffle or gentle bit. Only finished horses and extremely gentle-handed and knowledgable riders should be using gags and other harsh bits. Stop slapping them on your 3 year old.
3. On that note, your 2/3 year old has zero buisiness galloping a barrel pattern.
4. Parents? WTH. Please get your child some lessons and at least a helmet. Barrel racing/horseback riding is extremely dangerous. The horse doesnt need 50lbs slapping around his back throwing him off balance and when he does slip and fall, at least have your kids skull covered. (Anyone need videos? There are plenty)
5. Training a barrel horse does not mean running the pattern 20zillion times and going really fast. It just doesn't. Period.
6. A barrel horse should be able to walk on a loose rein. They need to be sane or else you're going to end up dead or with a crabby, sour horse.
7. Barrel horses need to be soft and supple. Your horse needs to be able to move his front and back independantly, collect, extend, sidepass, pick up his shoulders, etc to barrel race. I get so sick of people just running around on horses that are stiff and have no idea what they are doing.
8. Again with the stiff. Your horse needs to be conditioned. Would you go sprinting around like a madman after sitting on the couch all winter and expect to not to be sore the next day?
9. Get your barrel horse out of the arena. Jump him, do trails, do dressage all of this is going to help your times and is going to make him happier. I don't care how much he loves to run, you're going to kill it if he never sees anything but a pattern.
10. HANDS! When you are running home, if you are going to "pump" your horse faster, please at least have some idea of rythem. He does not like being wacked in the mouth.
I have plenty more.
I see far too much "BARREL RACING IS EVIL" because people are spurring the crap out of their over-bitted, under muscled, un-trained barrel horses. Kids are getting sent out full-tilt around a pattern and gettinh thrown and people wonder why.
If you're going to barrel race, please be a good representation for the rest of the equestrian world. You are not exempt.
We're not all cowboying idiots. I swear.