6 THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THE SPORT OF BARREL RACING
The origin of the barrel racing can be traced back to as early as 1930, and initially, it started as a women’s race. In the ground, a cloverleaf pattern is set with the help of three barrels, which the riders are supposed to complete in the fastest time. At the youth level, both girls, as well as boys, participate in this racing, but the event is mostly considered to be the women’s event.
The things on which the winning or the losing of race depend on are the athletic ability of horses to run faster, and the horse riding skills of the rider that how he or she controls the horse. The drums which are placed in the middle of the ground in a triangle shape are usually of 45 gallons. Another interesting thing is that while the riders try to move around the barrels, the barrel shouldn’t be tipped. The race depends entirely on the harmony between the speed of horse and the capability of the rider to control it. If you are interested in barrel racing, here is a list of 6 things that will give you an overall idea about the race, as well as, the list will give you some information how to be a good barrel racer.
1. Choice of Horse
Choice of the horse is the most important thing that you should consider if you interested in barrel racing. There are different breeds of horses, and each is unique in its own kind. For instance, there are horses which run very fast, others are athletic and few have the unimaginably high stamina and power. Depending on the nature of the race, you should choose that horse that is athletic and runs faster. The lineage of the horse is an important factor which determines the speed and agility of the horse. If you are looking for horseback riding lessons online, you can explore these and many other offers on Groupon.
The other things that you should consider are that the horse should be healthy; it must have straight legs as well as strong hooves. Its back should be strong. Most importantly, the temperament of the horse is a determining factor in winning and losing of the race. For this purpose, you should consult horse trainers, and get those horses that are known for high-speed short interval races.
Once you have chosen a proper horse that is fast as well as athletic, the next thing that follows is that you should take your horse out on a regular basis for exercise. It will increase the lung capacity of your horse to the maximum. Apart from regular mild exercise, you should also train your horse for a running session of 7 or 8 miles three days in a week. This will not only build the stamina of the horse, it will also build the stamina of the rider.
Keeping in mind the pattern of the race, you should train your horse accordingly. For instance, training your horse to move in circles will help you a lot in the race. You can also train your horse to move in two circles in a zigzag manner, as like the shape of digit “8”. This will make your horse very precise in the race.
3. Other Tactics
There are other things that will increase the efficiency of your horse, for instance, if you use sports boots, these will protect your horse from any serious injury which might happen. Observe the horse during the training and identify things that are disturbing it. For instance, the noise around might be a distraction for the horse, especially during the race when a lot of people are here to see the race. To avoid this, you can buy ear plugs for your horse, and it will be less disturbed by the noise. You also need a good bridle to control the horse properly.
Saddles that are used for barrel racing are of a different kind: they have deep seats and short skirts. The saddle is the only thing, that will give you balance when you are riding on the horse, therefore it is better to choose saddle wisely. If you think the saddle is not sufficient enough for balance, you can use saddle blanket as well.
4. Making Balance
The barrel race can be won if there is a proper balance between the movements of the horse and your body movements. For proper balance, you should be anchored in the saddle. If you are flopping while the horse is running, it will result in the hampered balance of the horse consequently reducing its speed. The best technique to remain balanced on the horse is to lean forward when the horse is running faster, and when the horse is about to take a turn, the best support you can get is with your heels. You can push your heels in the stirrups.
Apart from balance, proper body alignment is also very necessary and it is a matter of practice. The more you practice, the more you will learn how to move each and every part of your body according to horse movements.
5. The Barrels
The most difficult part in the race is that when you are supposed to move around a barrel in a circle. Do not focus on the barrel, but the area around it which is called “Pocket”. If you will focus directly on the barrel, you might hit it, but on the other hand, if you look and focus your attention on the area around it, you will move past it easily. It is also advised that when you reach near the barrel, slow down a bit, take support from your heels when the horse is turning, and then speed it up again.
Apart from the bridle which you can use to give proper directions to the horse, you can also use your inside leg to indicate direction. All the time, your outer hand should be pressed against the horn which will keep you seated.
6. Speeding up the Horse
When you are speeding up your horse in the intervals between the barrels, hold your hands low, and lean forward a bit. It is better to speed up your horse as much as you can in between the barrels because ultimately the amount of time is going to determine your success. However many people suggest that do not speed up your horse too much in between the barrels because eventually, you will have to slow down at the next one. But, when you move past the last barrel, you can run your horse as fast as you can until you cross the finish line.
This guest post is written by Joe Cole, he works at Coupon Goo.