barrel racing

Barrel Racing: What Is It, and Can a Person Make a Living from It?

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Barrel racing is a rodeo event in which a horse and rider attempt to race around preset barrels in a rodeo arena, competing with other riders and horses for the fastest time. Men and children of both sexes sometimes compete in this sport. However, professional barrel racing events are usually open only to adult women.


The Race Takes the Form of a Clover-Leaf Pattern

For barrel racing, barrels are set in a large triangle in a rodeo arena. Then the horse and rider race around the barrels in a clover-leaf pattern.

An electronic beam sets a timer when the pair bursts out of the gate. When the horse crosses the beam again upon completing the pattern, the timer shuts off and records their time. A horse who can “hug the barrels” as well as run with lightning-fast speed is one who will win barrel racing events in rodeo after rodeo. A really good horse and rider will race around the pattern in 14 seconds or less.




It Takes a Special Horse—and a Special Bond

Barrel racing horses are known not only for their strength and agility but also for their intelligence. What’s more, a successful barrel racing horse and its rider usually have a strong emotional bond. It can almost seem as if the two are of a single mind.

As barrel racing champion Michele McLeod says of her first experience of riding the horse who helped her to win multiple prizes, “When I got on Slick the first time, it just felt like that was where I was supposed to be.”


Yes, but Do Riders Make a Good Living?

Successful barrel racers do what they do for the love of it. They spend endless hours traveling from rodeo to rodeo throughout the season, mainly for the love of the competition. A good pair of horse and rider can even win some lucrative prizes. However, can a rider make a living from barrel racing?

Barrel racers win prize money from placing in the first three slots of a competition. Some of those prizes can even be in the six-figure range. However, most barrel racers—the human half of the pair, that is—earn their living from other occupations as well. For example, some barrel racers board and train horses for other horse lovers or otherwise make their living as ranchers.


What About Thoroughbred Racing?

Many people are probably more familiar with another kind of horse racing. We’re speaking here of thoroughbred racing, as exemplified by the Kentucky Derby, the Royal Ascot, and other prestigious races. Some people enjoy placing bets on this kind of horse racing, too, by way of a bookmaker such as the one at timeform.

When it comes to profiting from betting on thoroughbred racing, however, it takes a lot of dedication and research. A bettor needs to understand the horses involved in the race, as well as the jockeys and the trainers.

Instinct may help you in other areas of life. However, when it comes to betting on horse racing, it’s best to keep your emotions away from the track. Instead, try to place impartial, educated bets. If you want to win as a bettor, place your wagers based on factors such as the horse’s weight, form, and other factors. In this way, you’ll be more successful than those whose bets are steered only by their emotions.


What Makes a Good Barrel Racing Horse?

Only thoroughbred horses run in Triple Crown and other thoroughbred races. However, a number of different horse breeds can be successful at racing barrels. For instance, not only thoroughbreds but also paints, appaloosas, quarter horses, and even grade horses can make good barrel racers.

That’s because barrel racing horses must have strong athletic ability and proper conformation. Those factors are more important than their breed. Above all, though, a barrel racing horse must have a strong desire to win.