Find a place to take lessons. How long will it take to compete? About a year. It really depends on your trainer and your capabilities. What you need? Boots, jeans and money.
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I believe in solid foundations, that's why I say a year. I expect my students to ride all gaits with no stirrups, be*able to balance themselves and stay out of their horses way, control the horse with their body and not their, then there are turning drills before you even see the barrels. I'm not the kind of person who throws someone up on a horse and just let's them start flying around all willy nilly. In the end it makes you a better rider and a better barrel racer.I agree. MONEY lol.. and time, boots and jeans yes of course.. haha.. lessons would be great..
BUT I disagree with the a year thing.. .. MAYBE.. If I wrong correct me.. but did you( OP) state you're getting back into riding? so Have you rode before?
If so, I think it shouldn't take a year to be competing, if you have a been there done that horse. If your new new.. its going to take longer..