A barrel horse is a horse that has the athleticism and coordination to turn on a dime at high speeds. While the sport has gained in popularity, not all horses are suited to the job and it is important that riders understand what their horse can and cannot do. A good barrel horse will have clean, strong legs that are able to carry their body’s weight while also bending into a concave arch. This is a great way to avoid injuries during competition.
A good barrel horse will also be able to keep their speed when turning, which is important because it means they can get around the barrels faster. This requires a lot of footing work to build the horse’s strength. In addition, focusing on a variety of exercises to build the horse’s overall fitness is also beneficial, so they can handle the physical demands of barrel racing.
In order to be successful in barrel racing, a horse needs to be in peak condition at all times. This includes a proper diet that helps to support the muscles, joints and tendons that are strained during the sport. Choosing the right supplements to give a horse will help them recover quickly and be able to perform at a higher level during the event.
It is also important that barrel horses have a balanced diet to support the horse’s overall health and performance. Barrel horses are often hauled long distances and only have one chance to make a good run during an event, which puts a lot of stress on their bodies. A quality feed program will help to build a stronger, more resilient athlete that can better tolerate the stresses of barrel racing.
If a barrel racer wants to improve their skills, they should practice in an arena with at least six items that they can turn, such as tires or barrels. This will help them practice their circles in both walk and trot, but if they want to go to the next level they can start doing this drill at lope as well.
Practicing a circle drill is a good way for a barrel racer to train their horse to use their back and hock muscles during turns. It will also help to develop muscle memory so that the horse knows what their body is supposed to look like when they are circling at a high rate of speed.
A barrel racer should also focus on training their horse to be more relaxed in the arena. If a barrel horse is nervous in the arena, they will not be able to be as fluid and precise when running the pattern. The horse will start to anticipate turning and may not be as accurate when they are actually running the barrels during a competition. This is a very common mistake that many amateurs make and it can be avoided with some simple adjustments in riding techniques. Lastly, a barrel racer should try to add some variety to their training sessions in order to keep their horse engaged and interested. Working with cattle, trail riding and other drills can be a great way to change up the training routine and prevent a barrel horse from getting bored of repetitive exercises.