Understanding Which Horses Make the Best Barrel Racing Horses
When you look at horses for sale, you may be looking for a horse that will be good with the kids. You might be looking for a horse that you can bring into the racing world. But some of you will be looking for something more specific; those of you who have seen barrel racing at rodeos or even on television events might be thinking that barrel horses may be a great option.
Contrary to what some people believe, not every horse is an ideal candidate for barrel racing. Though there are fewer particulars than there are when looking for a Thoroughbred that will be a winner on the race track, there are a number of different characteristics that will be found in great barrel horses. Temperament can play a role in the success of barrel horses just as much as the horse’s skills, character, training and lineage.
You read that right – even with barrel horses, you’ll find that one of the major considerations that many buyers have is the lineage of the horse. A barrel horse’s bloodlines can help to identify how successful past generations in the line were, what the horse was bred for and can provide a sense of what the horse will be able to accomplish during the race.
Of course, more than the bloodlines, most buyers find that, with barrel horses, it is about the build and health of the horse. A good barrel horse has legs that are straight, and if you’re buying a horse that’s already been raced, you will want to be sure that its legs are free of any bumps or external scars. It’s important to be sure that the horse’s hooves are healthy, that its back is strong and that the horse is flexible and athletic.
To some extent, you will be able to tell whether or not horses for sale are healthy based on looks, however, before you make a commitment to making a purchase it is usually a good idea to have a veterinarian check to make sure that there’s nothing underlying that cannot be seen by the human eye.
If barrel horses have been worked with by trainers to get them ready for the sport, you will want to gather information about the trainers and their experience. The trainers, much like the horse’s lineage, can tell you a lot about whether the horse that you are looking at is going to be ideal when you’re looking for barrel horses that you will be able to take around the country to ride at events with the hopes of – someday – competing in some of the sports’ biggest competitions.
On the other hand, if you only plan to participate in a race or two during the local rodeo season, you’re likely to find that you are looking for a very different horse. Yes, the animal’s health and build will still be important to you, but you won’t want to focus as much on professionally trained barrel horses. Choosing a horse that is good for overall riding as well as barrel racing can, quite possibly, save you $ 20,000 or more.
In either case, you are going to want to focus more on the health and build of the horse than on the coloring and markings – characteristics that those who are looking for a horse for afternoon rides can focus on a bit more. When you are looking at horses for sale and trying to find barrel horses, you’ll want to focus your attention on Quarter Horses which are great at running at high speeds in short bursts, or, if you prefer, Pintos and Paints.
Whichever horse you choose as your barrel horse, it is important to recognize that you won’t just be heading into the ring to compete. In order to keep barrel horses ready – and to get them ready if they haven’t previously been used for barrel racing – you are going to need to focus on building the horse’s lung capacity with long trotting on a regular basis. A good goal to set for barrel horses that you are conditioning is the ability to keep a fast pace for six to eight miles at least three days a week.
To that end, keep in mind that conditioning barrel horses is not just exercise for them; it’s also exercise for you.