Horse's Height or Breed for Barrels

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Horse's Height or Breed for Barrels

This is a discussion on Horse's Height or Breed for Barrels within the Western Riding forums, part of the Riding Horses category
  • What is the best height for your horse in barrel racing
  • Best size horse for barrel racing

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    03-25-2010, 10:29 PM
Horse's Height or Breed for Barrels

Ok, I just moved my green mare Charm, who I want to train for barrel racing and/or polebending to a new stable and I met a few new people there.

Well one girl (sorta a know it all) came up to me and asked what I wanted to use Charm for. I told her for barrels or poles. Well she got huffing and puffing about how a little 14.3 hh horse (charm) wouldn't be able to do barrels good because of her height! That her legs are to little and she wouldn't be able to run fast. Believe me Charm is fast I know from working with her. For goodness sakes the girl I just learned is a hunter jumper and knows nothing about barrel racing! Grrr.... sometimes people make me so mad.

I have always learned when it comes to barrel racing a horse's height doesn't matter. That height is just as important as a horses color when it comes to barrels.

Do any of you prefer a certain height or for your barrel horse?

Sorry for venting on you all. Just got a little mad
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    03-25-2010, 10:32 PM
Green Broke
Perfect hooey. It is actually(IME) smaller horses that are usually a bit quicker and have a better turning radius than the bigger ones. They may have a shorter stride, but they make up for that with less to carry along. Of course this si a big generalization and really it is the individual horse that defines itself.

Don't let her being stuck in the "big horse trend" make you second guess.

I good barrel horse is never the wrong size, breed, color, or type.
    03-25-2010, 11:46 PM
Ugh, it doesn't matter. I've seen a little five year old on a 12.2hh pony outrun a big thoroughbred. The pony had a long stride and moved his feet quick while the thoroughbred had a shorter stride and was slow as hell.

It doesn't matter. A lot of barrel horses are actually just about that size. Jester is 14.2hh, and he runs in the 1D most of the time. We have a huge arena at our expo and he runs 16's which is really good.

It depends on the stride and how fast the horse can move his legs. That's why racing thoroughbreds extend their stride so much, because it covers more ground and at a quick pace. I have had several OTTB's who have been retired because their stride isn't long.

All in the legs, hon. Has nothing to do with the height.
    03-26-2010, 12:00 AM
Green Broke
Not even the legs, it is in the training.
    03-26-2010, 01:27 PM
Sometimes the shorter the legs, the better at the turns. I have seen the tall ones slide and fall over, the short stocky ones, have more of a steady base on turns. Your right, the height is like color when it comes to barrels. It is all about training. Sounds like the barn mate is just envious! Lol
    03-26-2010, 03:20 PM
My mare is 14.1, and stocky. We have been the year end champion three years running in our local club. Height has nothing to do with it. We've been outrun by 12 hand ponies. Don't let it bother you. :)
    03-26-2010, 05:42 PM
Thanks everyone. Just needed to blow some steam about this. At least I know Im not the only one who thinks height doesn't matter all that much! It just bothered me so much. What does she know anyway she is a hunter jumper, english rider! Never even sat in a western saddle before is what she just told me today!
Maybe I should show her your posts and see what she thinks! Haha.
    03-27-2010, 08:44 PM
I don't think Charmayne James' horse, Scamper, was very tall at all. The more I look at the pictures of her standing next to him, I'd put him at 15.2, MAX. Look at some of the pictures of his clone, Clayton. Watch her stand next to him. He doesn't look that tall, and he's an exact replica of Scamper, only with testicles. Especially look at the second picture in the rotation.

Short means closer turns at the barrel, tall means longer stride. Shorter strides get speed faster, but also have to work harder to slow down. Long strides means three points to turn around the barrel, but don't have the time to really build up a lot of speed between barrels.

It really just depends on your horse. Does he CRAVE his job? That's what you need to look for in a barrel horse. DOES he CRAVE his job? If not, just make it for fun!
    03-28-2010, 08:47 AM

Wow I agree, little horses can run fast. Personally, I perfer horses that are 15.2hh and taller but that's mostly because I'm 5'10". I usually barrel race with appendix QH and we usually win but I've seen little ponies outrun bigger throurghbreeds and QH's. It's just the horse in itself that really makes a difference.
    03-30-2010, 08:03 AM
Psstt... I'm an english rider that barrel races... ;)

Height is irrelevant. ANY horse is capable of barrel racing.
14.3 isnt too small. To be honest, I'd say an average size is between 14.3 and 15.2 hands. When I look for barrel prospects, I usually search somewhere between here.

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