PaintsPWN - Ok, I think that was my problem then, the guy needs to learn how to word his statements better. We have enough idiots in barrel racing without them being encouraged to "just go out and run the pattern!" Because unfortunately, we have way to many people with the mentality of "I paid to compete, we're going to try and win damn it!"
But I agree, it's a good method IF you've spent time at home developing a good reining type horse. Once you have that foundation, showing them a pattern shouldn't matter, because they're fine tuned to listen to your aids. I'm just having nightmares of these kids careening around a pattern on an out of control horse because not only does it not know the pattern, it's never had a proper foundation either.
In these cases, it's worth your while to look up some fun gymkhana shows in the area. Little cheap events where you can school for very little money and get your horse used to the atmosphere, and get yourself timed before moving up to actual ladies barrel racing events. In my area, when we hit the gymkhana in Morris, I actually saw several competitors cross entering from gymkhana barrels to the actual main stadium barrel racing. Some were annoyed, but I thought it was a great chance to time yourself against people who ARE good enough to be winning the main events. When you pay $3 for a class, does it really matter if you lose as long as you've walked away with knowledge?!